There are three and a half weeks left until Easter. If your Lenten observance this year has left a little (or a lot) to be desired, why not finish out strong by praying the Seven Sorrows Rosary and asking Our Lady to help you enter into the mysteries of her Son’s passion and death?
Before beginning to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary I imagined that the whole devotion to Our Lady’s Sorrows would prove to be gloomy and depressing, and therefore not something I had any interest in. Now, after praying it for a little over a year, I have to admit that my first impression could not have been further from the truth. The Seven Sorrows Rosary has many promises attached to it, and in my own experience the primary fruits of meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Mary are consolation in our troubles, and an experience of the immensity of Our Lady’s motherly tenderness and mercy for us. So, if you are seeking consolation in your life, and if you would like to have a greater awareness of Mary’s love and mercy, with the added benefit of entering into Christ’s passion and death through the eyes of his mother as Holy Week quickly approaches, I suggest making this devotion part of your daily routine for the rest of Lent.
Originating in the thirteenth century with the Servite Order, The Seven Sorrows Rosary calls to mind the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, promulgated by St. Bridget of Sweden, from the prophesy of Simeon in the temple to when Jesus was laid in the tomb. Since four of the mysteries take place during Christ’s passion and death, this is a great Lenten devotion, and one that, once you start it, you will probably want to continue throughout the rest of the year. In addition to the graces mentioned above, many miracles have been associated with this prayer, and the following are the seven promises attached to meditating on the Seven Sorrows, that were given to St. Bridget by Our Lady:
- I will grant peace to their families.
- They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.
- I will console them in their pains and will accompany them in their work.
- I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
- I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
- I will visibly help them at the moment of their death—they will see the face of their mother.
- I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.
In addition to this impressive list, I have read that, when prayed from the heart, the Seven Sorrows Rosary is known to bring about conversion and will give us an understanding of why we sin, which is so important in our spiritual life.
How to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary
Since this is a prayer of repentance, it is customary to begin the Seven Sorrows Rosary with an Act of Contrition.
This is followed by three Hail Mary’s in honor of Our Lady’s tears and with the intention of offering our tears in union with hers.
Before each mystery, say:
“Most Merciful Mother, remind us always of the sorrows of your son, Jesus.”
Then say one Our Father and seven Hail Mary’s while meditating on the suffering of Our Lady during each of the sorrows in her life.
The Seven Sorrows are:
- The prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:22-35)
- The flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-15)
- The loss of Jesus in the temple. (Luke 2:31-52)
- Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary. (Luke 23:27-31)
- Mary stands at the foot of the cross. (John 19:25-27)
- Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms. (John 19:38-40)
- The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb. (John 19:41-42)
Concluding Prayer: “Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much. I beg you, by the merits of the tears you shed in these terrible and sorrowful times, to obtain for me, and all the sinners of the world, the grace of complete sincerity and repentance.”
Say three times: “Mary, who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us.”
If you have some more time, and you would like to meditate a little deeper as you pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary, these meditations are so beautiful and really help you to enter in to what Our Lady went through during these events.
I pray that you, my dear readers, will have an extraordinarily blessed and fruitful last few weeks of Lent, and that by entering in to Our Lady’s and Christ’s sufferings, you will come to know their infinite tenderness for you; how valuable you are; and how much you are loved. In the words of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862):
“Love Mary! She is lovable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love . . . . If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. . . . She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.”