In Catholic Tradition, on the Friday after Passion Sunday, the Catholic Faithful are encouraged to meditate upon the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Let us thank our Blessed Mother for all the pain and suffering she willingly accepted for our salvation.
THE SEVEN SORROWS
OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
FRIDAY OF PASSION WEEK
GREATER DOUBLE / WHITE
The psalms of David and the prophecies of Isaias told rather plainly what would happen to Mary’s Son. But to help extend God’s mercy to all men, Mary suffered the seven great swords of her life and the multitude of little swords. All of them were the cost of mothering the earth’s Redeemer and His members. Calvary was the climax of her sorrows.
The graces and merits won by the anguish of Jesus and His Mother continually come to us through her hands. This fruit of her tears makes her also the “cause of our joy” and the sweetness and hope of the world.
INTROIT (John 19:25)
There stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Salome, and Mary Magdalene.
V. “Woman, behold thy Son,” Jesus said; and to the disciple, “Behold, thy Mother.”
V. Glory be . . .
O God, in Your passion, the prophecy of Simeon was fulfilled that a sword of sorrow should pierce the sweet soul of Your glorious Virgin-Mother Mary. We reverently recall her sufferings and sorrow; mercifully grant us the fruits of the redemption that was paid for by Your own sufferings, through the merits and prayers of all the saints watching beside the cross; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .
Commemoration of FRIDAY OF PASSION WEEK
O Lord, fill our hearts with Your grace so that we may avoid sin through our voluntary penance. May we suffer here in this life rather than be condemned to punishment in eternity.Through Christ our Lord . . .
LESSON (Judith 13:22, 23-25)
The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought. Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies. Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
You are sorrowful and tearful, O Virgin Mary, standing by the cross of the Lord Jesus, your Son, our Redeemer. V. O Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world cannot contain, the author of life who was made man, bears this punishment of the cross.
TRACT (John 19:25; Lam. 1:12)
By the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ stood the sorrowing Holy Mary, the Queen of Heaven and the Mistress of the world. V. Look, all you who pass by, and see if there is any sorrow like unto mine.
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent.
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of yours.
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In His very Blood away.
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful judgment day.
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.
GOSPEL (John 19:25-27)
At that time, there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: “Woman, behold thy son.” After that, he saith to the disciple: “Behold thy mother.” And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON (Jer. 18:20)
Remember, O Virgin Mother, to speak good things in our behalf before the face of God, that He may turn away His anger from us.
O Lord Jesus Christ, we offer You our prayers and sacrifices. May we, who commemorate the piercing of the sweet soul of the Blessed Mary, Your Mother, share the reward of the saints through her loving and constant intercession and the prayers of those who stood with her beside the cross, as well as through Your own meritorious death; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .
Commemoration of FRIDAY OF PASSION WEEK
O merciful God, may we always serve worthily at Your altar, and be saved by partaking continually of its gifts. Through our Lord . . .
Happy the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who without dying earned the palm of martyrdom beneath the cross of our Lord.
O Lord Jesus Christ, may this Sacrifice which we have received in memory of the sorrows of Your Virgin-Mother obtain for us from Your mercy every grace and help; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .
O Lord, protect us always by the Sacrament we have received, and shield us against all that is harmful. Through our Lord . . .
Seven Sorrows of Mary
- The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
- The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
- Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
- Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
- Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
- The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
- The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
Holy Mother Church honors Our Lady’s Sorrows by two feasts, one observed on the Friday of Passion Week, and the other on the 15th of September. This first feast recalls especially her sufferings during the Passion of Our Lord, known as her Compassion; the second is dedicated more particularly to Her lifelong sorrows. The Blessed Virgin Mary’s sorrow on Calvary was deeper than any sorrow ever felt on earth, for no mother in all the world had a heart as tender as the Heart of the Mother of God. She bore her sufferings for us, that we might enjoy the graces of Redemption. She suffered willingly in order to prove her great love for us, for true love is proven by sacrifice. Let us give ourselves over to her love completely, and bear our cross patiently, in union with our Mother of Sorrows.
“When Jesus, therefore, saw His Mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He said to His Mother, ‘Woman, behold thy son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold thy Mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took Her into his home” (John 19:25-27).
Sad and tearful, O Virgin Mary, didst Thou stand by the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Redeemer. Hail Mary…
“Blessed be the Lord, Who made Heaven and earth, because He has so glorified thy name this day, that thy praise will never cease to be sung by mankind… For thou hast not spared thy life in order to relieve the distress and sorrow of thy people, and by thy prayers in the Presence of our God, thou hast prevented our ruin” (Judith 13:24). Hail Mary…
Let us stand near the Cross with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whose soul was pierced by the sword of sorrow! Hail Mary…
“Sorrow has crushed me. My face is swollen with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death” (Job 16:8,17).
V. Pray for us, O Mother most Sorrowful,
R.That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
O God, in Whose Passion, as Simeon had foretold, the most sweet soul of Mary, Thy glorious Virgin-Mother, was pierced through by a sword of sorrow, mercifully grant that we who reverently meditate upon her Transfixion and her Sufferings, may obtain the blessed fruits of Thy Passion, through the glorious merits and prayers of all the saints faithfully standing at the Cross interceding for us. Who livest and reignest forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary
Presence of God – Permit me, O Mary, to remain near the Cross, that I may share with you in the Passion of Jesus.
We find in Simeon’s prophecy the first explicit announcement of the part the Blessed Virgin was to have in the Passion of Jesus: “Thy own soul a sword shall pierce” (Lk 2:35). This prophecy was fulfilled on Calvary. “Yes, O Blessed Mother,” says St. Bernard, “a sword has truly pierced your soul. It could penetrate Your Son’s flesh only by passing through your soul. And after Jesus had died, the cruel lance which opened His side did not reach His soul, but it did pierce yours. His soul was no longer in His body, but yours could not be detached from it.” This beautiful interpretation shows us how Mary, as a Mother, was intimately associated with her Son’s Passion.
The Gospel does not tell us that Mary was present during the glorious moments of the life of Jesus, but it does say that she was present on Calvary. “Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen” (Jn 19:25). No one had been able to keep her from hastening to the place where her Son was to be crucified, and her love gave her courage to stand there, erect, near the Cross, to be present at the sorrowful agony and death of the One whom she loved above all, because He was both her Son and her God. Just as she had once consented to become His Mother, so she would now agree to see Him tortured from head to foot, and to be torn away from her by a cruel death.
She not only accepted, she offered. Jesus had willingly gone to His Passion, and Mary would willingly offer Her well-beloved Son for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the salvation of men. That is why the sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s sacrifice, not only because Mary offered it together with Jesus, and in Him, offered her own Son; but also because, by this offering, she completed the most profound holocaust of herself, since Jesus was the center of her affections and of her whole life. God, who had given her this divine Son, asked, on Calvary, for a return of His gift, and Mary offered Jesus to the Father with all the love of her heart, in complete adherence to the divine will.
“O Mary, Mother of Jesus Crucified, tell me something about His Passion, for you felt and saw it more than all the others who were present, having contemplated it with the eyes of your body and soul, and given it all the attention possible, O you who love Him with such great love” (St. Angela of Foligno).
“O Mary, grant that I may stand with you near the Cross; permit me to contemplate with you the Passion of your Jesus, and to have a share in your sorrow and tears. O holy Mother, impress deeply in my heart the wounds of the Crucified; permit me to suffer with Him, and to unite myself to your sorrows and His” (cf. Stabat Mater).
“O Queen of Virgins, you are also the Queen of Martyrs; but it was within your heart that the sword transpierced you, for with you everything took place within your soul.
“Oh, how fair you are to behold during your long martyrdom, enveloped in a majesty both strong and gentle; for you have learned from the Word how those should suffer who are chosen as victims by the Father, those whom He has elected as associates in the great work of the redemption, whom He has known and predestinated to be conformed to His Christ, crucified for love.
“You are there, O Mary, at the foot of the Cross, standing, in strength and courage; and my Master says to me, ‘Ecce Mater Tua.”’Behold your Mother. He gives you to me for my Mother! And now that He has returned to His Father, and has put me in His place on the Cross so that I may fill up those things which are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh for His Body, which is the Church, you are still there, O Mary, to teach me to suffer as He did, to let me hear the last song of His soul which no one but you, O Mother, could overhear” (Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity, Last Retreat, 15).
That my desire for suffering will not be sterile, help me, O sweet Mother, to recognize in each daily suffering the Cross of your Jesus and to embrace it with love.
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- The SEVEN SORROWS of our BLESSED MOTHER Scripture Quotes and Meditations for Each Sorrow – Oir Lady of the Rosary Library
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