September ~ The Month Devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows

Honoring Mary’s Sorrows Why is this Such an Important Devotion?

Meditating on the seven sorrows of Our Lady brings her solace and assurance that her sufferings have not been forgotten. As we reflect upon Mary’s sufferings, we see the depth of her love for her Son and the depth of His love for her and, in that, we come to realize that their love was, in actuality, a complete sharing of their blood, hearts, and souls. From a scraped knee to the Crucifixion, there was no pain Jesus suffered that His mother did not share equally.

Sadly, Mary felt that her sufferings were not being honored and she craved consolation. In a revelation to Saint Bridget of Sweden, Our Lady said, “I look around at all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity Me and meditate upon My Sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, My daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do you not forget Me; consider My anguish, and imitate, as far as you can, My grief. Devotion to Mary’s suffering is so important to her, that in this revelation to Saint Bridget, she made seven promises to those who meditate on her seven sorrows.

The Seven Promises

1. I will grant peace to their families.

2. They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.

3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.

4. 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.

5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.

6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.

7. I have obtained 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 and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.

The Devotion is Equally Important to Her Son

Devotion to His mother’s sorrows is also important to Jesus. He revealed to the great contemplative, Veronica of Binasco: “My daughter, the tears which you shed in compassion for My sufferings are pleasing to Me, but as I loved My Mother Mary with an immense love,” the tears you shed in compassion for her sufferings are still more precious. Saint Alphonsus de Liguori in his classic work, The Glories of Mary, wrote that Our Lord promised four graces to those devoted to the Sorrows of his Blessed Mother.

These Graces are:

1. That those who before death invoke the divine Mother in the name of Her Sorrows will obtain true repentance of all their sins;

2. That He will protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and will protect them especially at the hour of death;

3.  That He will impress on their minds the remembrance of His Passion;

4. That He will place such devout servants in Mother Mary’s hands to do with them as She wishes and to obtain for them all the graces She desires.

Meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

There are many ways to reflect on Mary’s Sorrows. There is a Delores Rosary, there are chaplets, different prayers have been offered by saints and each devotion is equally beautiful. When focusing on Our Lady’s sufferings, I am not looking for beauty. I want to be drawn into her pain, to a place where I am consumed by her love for her Son and the pain she endured with Him; pain she willingly accepted thirty-three years before, when the angel Gabriel came to her.

In an effort to take you to that sorrowful space, I am sharing with you a painting of each of the Seven Sorrows. Along with each image, I am including a reflection by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. I have chosen these reflections because, of any I have read or heard, Saint Alphonsus’s reflections are filled with such compassion that he becomes the perfect guide through this sorrowful journey.

As an artist, I find that a visual has the ability to pull me in to where I become a part of the depicted scene. There, I am experiencing, on many levels, all that is happening around me.  Walk with Our Lady Through Her Sadness

Walk with Our Lady Through Her Sadness

First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon. Reading: Luke 2: 25-35

Simeon with the Infant Jesus ~ Benjamin West ~ 1796

I pity thee, O afflicted Mother, on account of the first sword of sorrow which pierced thee, when in the Temple all the outrages which men would inflict on thy beloved Jesus were presented before thee by Saint Simeon, and which thou didst already know by the Sacred Scriptures; outrages which were to cause Him to die before thine eyes, on an infamous Cross, exhausted by His blood, abandoned by all, and thyself unable to defend or help Him. By that bitter knowledge, then, which for so many years afflicted thy heart, I beseech thee, my Queen, to obtain for me the grace that during my life and at death, I may ever keep the Passion of Jesus and thy sorrows impressed upon my heart.

Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt. Matthew 2: 13-15.

The Flight into Egypt ~ Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld ~ 1828

I pity thee, my afflicted Mother, for the second sword which pierced thee, when soon after His birth thou didst behold thine innocent Son threatened with death by those very men for whose salvation He had come into the world, so that in the darkness of night thou was obliged to fly secretly with Him into Egypt. By the many hardships, then, which thou, a delicate young woman, in company with thine exiled Child, didst endure in so long and fatiguing a journey through rough and desert countries, and during thy residence in Egypt, where, being unknown and a stranger, thou didst live for so many years in poverty and contempt – I beseech thee, my beloved Lady, to obtain for me the grace to suffer in thy company with patience until death the trials of this miserable life, that I may thus in the next escape the eternal punishments of Hell, which I have deserved.

Third Sorrow: Loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. Reading: Luke 2: 41-50

Christ Among the Doctors ~ Paolo Veronese ~ 1560

I pity thee, my sorrowful Mother, on account of the third sorrow which pierced thee in the loss of thy dear Son Jesus, who remained absent from thee in Jerusalem for three days. No longer seeing thy Beloved by thy side and not knowing the cause of His absence, I can well imagine, my loving Queen, that during those nights thou didst not repose and didst only sigh for Him, who was all thy treasure. By the sighs, then, of those three days, for thee too long and bitter, I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace that I may never lose my God, that so, always clinging to Him, I may leave the world united to Him

Fourth Sorrow: Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross. Reading: Luke 23: 27-29

Jesus Meets His Mother on the Way to Calvary ~ Raphael ~ 1516

I pity thee, my sorrowful Mother, for the fourth sword which pierced thee in seeing thy Son condemned to death, bound with cords and chains, covered with blood and wounds, crowned with a wreath of thorns, falling under the heavy weight of the Cross which He carried on His wounded shoulders, going as an innocent Lamb to die for love of us. Thine eyes met His and His met thine; and thy glances were as so many cruel arrows which wounded thy loving hearts. By this great sorrow, then I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace to live in all things resigned to the will of my God and to carry my cross cheerfully in company with Jesus, until my last breath.

Fifth Sorrow: The Crucifixion John 19: 25-30

Crucifixion ~ the Altar of Isenheim ~ Matthias Grunewald ~ 1513

I pity thee, my afflicted Mother, for the fifth sword which pierced thee, when on Mount Calvary thou didst behold thy beloved Son Jesus slowly dying before thine eyes, amid so many torments and insults, on that hard bed of the Cross, where thou couldst not administer to Him even the least of those comforts which are granted to the greatest criminals at the hour of death. I beseech thee by the agony which thou, my most loving Mother, didst endure, together with thy dying Son, and by the sadness which thou didst feel when, for the last time, He spoke to thee from the Cross and bade thee farewell and left all of us in the person of Saint John to thee as thy children; by that constancy with which thou didst then see Him bow down His head and expire, I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace from thy crucified Love to live and die crucified to all earthly things, that I may spend my life for God alone and thus one day enter Paradise to enjoy Him face to face.

Sixth Sorrow: Taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross. Reading: Psalm 130

Descent from the Cross ~ Peter Paul Rubens ~ 1612

I pity thee my afflicted Mother, for the sixth sword which pierced thee when thou didst see the sweet heart of thy Son pierced through and through. He was already dead and had died for those ungrateful creatures who, even after His death, were not satisfied with the torments they had inflicted upon Him. By this cruel sorrow, then which was all thine, I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace to dwell in the heart of Jesus, wounded and opened for me; in that heart I say, which is the beautiful abode of love, in which all souls who love God repose; and that living there, I may never think of or love anything but God. Most sacred Virgin, thou canst obtain this for me, from thee do I hope for it.

Seventh Sorrow: Burial of Jesus Luke 23:50

Entombment ~ Peter Paul Rubens ~ 1612

I pity thee, my afflicted Mother, for the seventh sword which pierced thee on seeing thy Son already dead in thy arms, no longer fair and beautiful as thou didst receive Him in the stable of Bethlehem, but covered with blood, livid and all lacerated with wounds, so that even His bones were seen; thou didst then say, “My Son, my Son, to what has love reduced Thee!” And when He was borne to the sepulcher, thou wouldst thyself accompany Him and place Him with thine own hands in the tomb; and bidding Him thy last farewell, thou didst leave thy loving heart buried with thy Son. By this martyrdom of thy beautiful soul, do thou obtain for me, O Mother of Fair Love, the forgiveness of the offences which I have committed against my beloved God, and which I repent with my whole heart. Do thou defend me in temptations; do thou assist me at the moment of my death, that, saving my soul through the merits of Jesus and thee, I may one day, after this miserable exile, go to Paradise to sing the praises of Jesus and thee for all eternity. Amen

Marilyn Nash

Seven Sorrows of Mary One Hail Mary Amethyst Chaplet

Marilyn Nash

Marilyn Nash is a rosary artisan who, with her husband, creates one-of-a-kind and limited edition themed rosaries. She is a writer and author of the book, The Sacred Strand, Praying the rosary with saints and artists. In addition, the former interior designer is an artist and creates one-of-a-kind jewelry, handbags, and wearable art. Certified in Religious Education, Marilyn has taught both children and adults, specializing in Catholic themes, doctrine related to Mary and the Rosary. She is also a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Her passion is painting sacred and spiritual art.