First Published in ‘The Catholic Voice’, Ireland, October 2015
A Powerful Devotion
Today I would like to take a break from ‘Synod watch’ and look to Our Lady. I have recently produced a booklet on the simple form of the devotion to Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows, which consists in saying seven Hail Marys a day whilst meditating on each of the sorrows. The cover of the booklet features a copy of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Sorrows from Quito in Equador, and on the back are listed the promises to St Bridget for those who would practice this devotion. The inside of the booklet contains seven beautiful Catholic images and seven short meditations on each of the seven sorrows.
I print these booklets myself and if you would like a copy you can send a stamped addressed envelope with a two euro coin inside to me at 21, Glenbrook, Knock, Claremorris Co Mayo F12 NW20.
The promises of Our Lady to St. Bridget of Sweden to those who honour her every day by meditating on her sorrows and entering into her grief are as follows
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 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 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.
The first four meditations from the booklet are as follows
The First Sorrow of Our Lady – The Prophecy of Simeon
“And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” (Luke 2: 34 – 35)
Consider this joyful day when Our Lady and St Joseph take the child Jesus to Jerusalem for His presentation in the temple. The prophet Simeon is sent by God to forewarn and to prepare our Lady for what is to come.
Thus it is for all followers of Christ. Our hearts will be pierced by many sorrows. The death of our parents and those we love, our children may lose the faith, we will be rejected by the world for our belief in Jesus Christ.
Yet Mary has gone before us, to lead us, to comfort us and to console us. Let us draw near to her, our Mother, as she contemplates the words of Simeon in her heart. Hail Mary…
The Second Sorrow of Our Lady – The Flight into Egypt
Mary takes the child Jesus and with St Joseph leaves Bethlehem for Egypt. Herod has given orders that her only child be killed. Other innocent children will die on account of this. This killing of innocent children continues to this very day with millions of innocent children, created in the image and likeness of God, being killed through abortion, through war and through hunger. Many other children, willed by God, will not come into existence on account of contraception.
Already the prophecy of Simeon is coming true, “behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel… and thy own soul a sword shall pierce.”
Beloved Mother who greatly suffered, give us a courageous heart like yours. We accept all the sufferings as God so wishes, our own and that inflicted by others. You alone purify our suffering so that we may give glory to God and save our souls.
The Third Sorrow of Our Lady – The Loss of the Child Jesus in Jerusalem
His mother said to him, “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. (Luke 2:48-50)
Consider the sorrow of Our Lady on discovering that Jesus is not with St Joseph or with any of their relations on the journey back from Jerusalem. She knows who Jesus is, therefore her question to Jesus is not an admonition. She does not understand why He would leave her for three days without letting her know, and it causes her deep sorrow.
Jesus is teaching Mary the painful lesson of detachment from Him. She must know that His Father’s business takes precedence over everything else. The three days are also a preparation of her soul for the three days of His passion, death and entombment before the resurrection.
Hail Mary …
The Fourth Sorrow of Our Lady – Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary
V: Consider how the Son met his Mother on His way to Calvary. Jesus and Mary gazed at each other and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly
R: My most loving Jesus, by the pain You suffered in this meeting grant me the grace of being truly devoted to Your most holy Mother. And You, my Queen, who was overwhelmed with sorrow, obtain for me by Your prayers a tender and a lasting remembrance of the passion of Your divine Son.
(St Alphonsus Liguori)
Our Lord’s sorrow is increased by the sorrow He sees in His Mother Mary’s eyes. Our Lady’s sorrow is increased when she sees that her own suffering causes her Son to suffer more. Yet both of them are freely resigned to the Father’s Will so that we may be freed from our sins and from the clutches of satan.
Hail Mary …
© John Lacken 2015
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Author: John Lacken
Founder: Legio Sanctae Familiae – The Legion of the Holy Family