THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY
"Gemitus matris tue ne obliviscaris" Forget not the groanings of thy mother (Ecclus vii, 29).

Let us recall the seven incidents in the life of our holy Mother which we are accustomed to look upon as the most painful to her compassionate heart: the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of Jesus in the Temple, the meeting with Jesus on the way to Calvary, the Crucifixion, the taking down from the cross, the burial of Jesus.
Let us ask the grace to understand our duty towards Mary in her affliction, and to fulfill it with a perfect generosity.
Let us begin by directing our attention to the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin, not in a hasty or perfunctory manner, but so as to bring each scene before us, that we may feel how sharp was the pang which each inflicted on the heart of Mary.

V. O God, come to my assistance.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

I. The Prophecy of Simeon

Nothing is more painful than the certain expectation of misfortune. Henceforth the whole life of the Blessed Virgin is to pass darkened by the prospect which every day, happy or unhappy, brings nearer to fulfillment. If the day is happy, she thinks of the contrast with the future; if unhappy, it seems a fitting prelude of the awful calamity to come.

"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 II, 34-35.
How great was the shock to Mary's Heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows, and torments which the impious men were to offer to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men's ingratitude to her beloved Son. Now consider that because of your sins you are unhappily among the ungrateful.

Every life has elements of mixed joy and sorrow. Certainly Mary and Joseph are filled with joy as they travel the day's journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to offer Mary's First-Born to the service of His Father. According to Jewish custom, they "ransomed" Him back by offering two turtle doves as sacrifices to Almighty God. The joy of Mary seems to overflow as the aged Simeon receives her in the Temple and, taking the Child from her arms, looks heavenward with praise to the Almighty for sparing him until he saw the salvation "prepared before the faces of all peoples: a light of revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for Thy people Israel."
From the height of her joy, Mary's heart suddenly sinks, as Simeon glances first to the Child, then straight into her eyes. "This Child is set for the rise and the fall of many ... a sign of contradiction . . . thine own soul a sword shall pierce . . ." Mary knows that her Son is to suffer. She knows that He will be lifted up. Simeon makes it painfully clear, as he reminds her of her Son's mission. "She pondered these things in her heart."
At the prophetic words of Simeon, the first cruel sword has passed. Mary's great joy is turned suddenly into great sorrow...as she plummets from the heights to the depths.

Great tears well up in the beautiful eyes of the Gentlest of Mothers. The words of the prophesy sink deep into her heart like a burning knife. Mary's tears fall gently upon the tiny babe held securely in her arms. The tender baby Jesus too, is visibly effected ~ drawing closer to his mother in fear and trembling. Although horrified at the thought of what he must endure to save sinners from Hell ~ their answer in unison to the Father is,"yes." A complete and trustful surrender to the Will of God.
Both Jesus and his Immaculate Mother would endure this great sorrow ~ this great fear for the rest of their lives...A living martyrdom. Every waking moment, Mary lived with the dread and unbearable mental anguish of her beloved Son's impending death...knowing not the hour.
Simeon prophesied that the Christ Child would be the Light to the nations. But those who follow the Light will have their hearts pierced with a sword. For as Christ was rejected and despised by others, as he suffered and died, so will all those who follow him. "O Mary, give us a heart humble and strong so as to walk in the Light of your Son."

O Virgin most sorrowful, by the bitter pain which thy soul did suffer when thy Son Jesus was presented in the Temple, and thou didst hear from the prophetic mouth of Simeon that He was set for the fall of many on account of their malice, and for a sign which should be contradicted, and that a sword should pierce thine own soul; I pray thee, obtain for me this grace that the infinite merits of Jesus may not be vain and unfruitful through my fault......

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God.
O, Mary, help me to understand the purpose of suffering in my life.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

II. The Flight into Egypt

The privations and dangers undergone by a son are those of his mother.
"And after they (the wise men) were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise and take the child and His mother and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Who arose and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and He was there until the death of Herod." � Matt. II, 13-14.

Consider the sharp sorrow which Mary felt when, St. Joseph being warned by an angel, she had to flee by night in order to preserve her beloved Child from the slaughter decreed by Herod. What anguish was hers, in leaving Judea, lest she should be overtaken by the soldiers of the cruel king! How great her privations in that long journey! What sufferings she bore in that land of exile, what sorrow amid that people given to idolatry! But consider how often you have renewed that bitter grief of Mary, when your sins have caused her Son to flee from your heart.

After returning to Bethlehem, the Holy Family is visited by the Magi. Shortly after their departure, Joseph is warned by an angel to "take the Child and His Mother and flee into Egypt." Already, jealous Herod's soldiers seek the Child. Joseph and Mary hurry a few blocks from their temporary home to a nearby cave, where Mary nurses her Babe in what has since become known to the local people as the "Milk Grotto." As they continue their journey out of town and head towards the Egyptian border, the terrible sounds of the slaughter ring in Mary's ears. Even Rachel mourns from her grave the Innocents of Bethlehem. Mary wonders: "Is this to be His time, at this age?" The only alternative is to flee quickly to the unfriendly Egyptians, the former captors of her people. Is it possible that only the Sphinx looks down in silent approval as they pass into Pharoah's land? Jeremia the Prophet speaks for Mary: "Bitterly she weeps at night, tears upon her cheeks, with not one to console her of all her dear ones; her friends have all betrayed her and become her enemies. 'Look, O Lord, upon my distress: all within me is in ferment, my heart recoils within me from my monstrous rebellion. In the streets the sword bereaves, at home death stalks. Give heed to my groaning; there is no one to console me.' " And yet, through this trial Mary still has Emmanuel with her. She knows that all will be accomplished in God's time. This gives her the security of peace in her sorrow. The Scripture will be fulfilled: "I have called My Son out of Egypt, that salvation may come to Israel."

Evil always seeks to destroy good. Herod was afraid of losing his power and riches, so he sought to destroy the Christ Child. Mary, therefore, fled with her child into Egypt. Do the pride and selfishness, the jealousies and prejudices in our hearts drive Christ away from us? May we travel with Mary and Christ and flee the glory, fame and riches of this world. "O Mary watch over us in our journey through this valley of tears."
O Virgin most sorrowful, by the grief which thou didst suffer when, in order to withdraw thy most innocent Son from the cruelty of impious Herod, who was seeking Him to destroy Him, thou wast obliged in the midst of hardship and privation to flee by stealth into Egypt; obtain, I beseech thee, that I may never through sin force my Redeemer to leave my heart......

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.
O, Mary, help me to stay close to your Divine Son when I feel most abandoned.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

III. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple

Think of Mary�s hours of regret, of apprehension, of anxious searching.
"And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him." Luke II, 43-45.

How dread was the grief of Mary, when she saw that she had lost her beloved Son! And as if to increase her sorrow, when she sought Him diligently among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, she could hear no tidings of Him. No hindrances stayed her, nor weariness, nor danger; but she forthwith returned to Jerusalem, and for three long days sought Him sorrowing. Great be your confusion, O my soul, who has so often lost your Jesus by your sins, and has given no heed to seek Him at once, a sign that you make very little or no account of the precious treasure of divine love.
Again, the joy of traveling, this time for several days, from Nazareth to the Temple in Jerusalem for the great feast. These were especially happy times for Mary, reunited with her own people, living with Jesus and Joseph. The feast ends; the return to Nazareth commences in the early morning. The caravan of women moves ahead north of the Holy City. The men follow in their caravan. They sing Psalms praising God, exchange news and laughter, as the trip progresses. Both groups meet in their encampment at the end of the day. As night falls, Mary and Joseph find each other and realize with horror that Christ is not in their company. They search through both camps to no avail. "Have you seen Him? He is only twelve years old." Each time the reply is negative. Mary remembers the words of Simeon and the Lamentations of Jeremia the Prophet: "The Lord has done as He decreed: He has fulfilled the threat He set forth from days of old; He has destroyed and had no pity, letting the enemy gloat over you and exalting the horn of your foes. Cry out to the Lord; moan, O daughter of Sion! Let your tears flow like a torrent day and night; let there be no respite for you, no repose for your eyes." Mary feels terror and panic. "This must be His hour," she thinks. In His boyhood hurts, even in the flight to Egypt, Jesus was with her. Now, for the first time, He is gone. Nonetheless, she knows that the Eternal Father knows all things, and this gives her peace. Her confidence is rewarded three days later when she and Joseph find Jesus in the midst of the doctors in the Temple.

The Prophesy of Simeon is Mary and St. Joseph's greatest fear. This ever-present dread is foremost in their minds as she and poor St. Joseph search desperately for their lost son Jesus. The same fears that any parent would have for their lost child must have indeed been keenly shared by poor Mary and St. Joseph. "Where could he possibly be? Is he hungry or thirsty? Is he cold? Is he alone or afraid? Is he in danger? Is he dead? Is it my fault he is lost? Will we ever see our precious child again?

What is it that we are seeking in this life? Beauty, power, riches? Mary sought only to do the will of God. When she found that her Son was gone she left everything behind in order to go and search for him. Are we willing to leave all and go searching for Christ? As Jesus said, "If you wish to be my disciple, then go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor and then come and follow me." "O Mary, help us to seek not the things of this world, but only Christ, your Son."

O Virgin most sorrowful, by the anguish which thou didst suffer when, without any fault of thine, thou didst lose thy most beloved Son Jesus, Who had remained in the Temple to fulfill the will of the Eternal Father, and didst seek Him anxiously for three days; obtain for me the grace to find Jesus at once, if by misfortune I ever come to lose Him through sin......

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the loss of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.
O Mary, help me to keep peace of soul, even when searching for Jesus in my life.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

IV. The Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross

Oh, the agony of that loving Mother, unable to do anything to help her Son! Their eyes meet, and the heart of each is pierced by the sight. In what condition does Mary find - her Son! In what company! What sorrow Jesus sees depicted on the face of His Mother!
"And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him." � Luke XXIII, 27.

Come, O ye sinners, come and see if ye can endure so sad a sight. This Mother, so tender and loving, meets her beloved Son, meets Him amid an impious rabble, who drag Him to a cruel death, wounded, torn by stripes, crowned with thorns, streaming with blood, bearing His heavy cross. Ah, consider, my soul, the grief of the blessed Virgin thus beholding her Son! Who would not weep at seeing this Mother's grief? But who has been the cause of such woe? I, it is I, who with my sins have so cruelly wounded the heart of my sorrowing Mother! And yet I am not moved; I am as a stone, when my heart should break because of my ingratitude.

It is coming soon. She senses that now. The Pharisees have become increasingly resentful towards Him. She is praying over these things when the knock comes at the door. "They have taken Him! They have taken Him!" She wraps her veil tightly around her face and runs into the night with her friend. They reach Caiphas' house in time to see Jesus pushed up the steps. She overhears Peter: "I know not the Man!" She meets John, who leads her towards the praetorium of Pilate. She waits through the night as reports are brought to her of Jesus' scourging. Once again Simeon's words thrust at her as so many arrows. She prays the psalm: "My heart has become like wax melting away within my bosom." The long night passes into gray dawn and still she keeps her vigil. Then she hears Pilate's words to the crowd from the arch: "Behold the Man!" She can scarcely recognize Him as the crowd roars for His death. He does not yet see her. She wants it that way� to spare Him the pain. She sees the rough cross-timber dragged to a point below the arch. She watches the soldiers laughingly lead her Son to the cross. He can scarcely walk. He stumbles, He falls�He opens up more wounds, as if that were possible! She sees the seamless robe she has woven for Him years ago- now a mass of blood and flesh, clinging to His Body. His face is misshapen and swollen. She cannot move. He is pushed forward by the soldiers. He walks a few more feet, and then He sees her! Mary does not restrain herself. She kisses Him softly through her tears and reminds Him of her love for Him. "Their looks became as swords, to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly."

What does the anguished Mother witness as she is jostled by the riotous mob?
Mary's eyes behold for the first time, a glimpse of the distant bent figure of her Son, as he slowly rounds a corner,  weighed down by a very large heavy cross on his shoulder.  At the same time, she sees the mass of cruel thorns they have placed on his head.  As he nears, she can see the ropes that bind him around his neck and waist, and how they shove him, and prod him along with the blunt end of spears, like a driven lamb to the slaughter.  Her ears are assaulted by the loud angry insults and blasphemies they heap upon him.  Jesus stumbles and falls ~ her arms reach for him in reflex but he is too far away ~ as he lies there in the filth and dust of the city street. This first fall, one of many before His journey's end.

'Weakened, prodded, cursed, and fallen, His whole Body bruised and swollen,
Jesus tripped and lay in pain.' Weakened from the loss of blood and pain suffered in the cruel scourging, suffering terribly from the painful crown that pierces his skull and pricks his eyes and ears at every movement ~ he can barely see for the blood that stings his eyes.  Only his tears relieve the stinging some as he blinks to see. His breathing is fast and gasping, his pulse races. The soldiers manhandle him to his feet ~ afraid he'll die before they can nail him to the cross, shove him and yank him around by the ropes to revive him, he catches his breath and grits his teeth as all his pain is renewed with the violent treatment. 'Prostrate on the dust He crumbled, Flogged in Body He resembled All our brothers poor and scorned.'

He walks on ~ one, slow, painful, step at a time. Jesus strains with all his heart, to bear the immense weight of the whole world on his shoulder.  He is nearer his mother now.  She tearfully watches as he slowly, painfully, lifts his head ~ and she gasps ...His once beautiful face ~ swollen and bruised, covered in filth and blood and spittle!  His thick dark hair and beard matted with sweat and blood.  Can you feel her anguish as their tearful eyes meet, "...My son, My son!"  You can hear her cry. So many silent swords of pain passed between them in that brief look. It was not for this innocent creature that he must suffer. She alone ~ The Immaculate Mother of the Word Incarnate. Despite himself ~ what pain Jesus felt to see Mary's unbearable anguish. The soldiers shout and push the crowds back, and He is stolen from view.

'Jesus met his grieving Mother, She who made the Lord our Brother; Now the sword her heart has pierced.'
She follows quickly and catches sight of him once more as he stumbles and falls again. If only she could take his place
she gladly would. Her fervent prayers are to the Father, offering herself in his stead.
To spare the life of her Divine Son from the agony that yet lay ahead.
She prays for someone come to the aid of her Son.  The soldiers grab Simon the Cyrenian, a large strong man coming in
from the fields and force him to carry the heavy cross behind Jesus. 'Simon stopped in hesitation,
Not foreseeing his proud station, Called to bear the Cross of Christ.'
The Holy Mother prays still more fervently, and a pious woman is moved by great compassion for this poor wretched man
condemned to die. Courageously, she breaks through a startled line of soldiers to wipe his bloody face with her veil.
'Brave but trembling came the woman, None but she would flaunt the Roman, Moved by love beyond her fear.'

As Veronica gently presses the veil to Jesus' face, she can feel it's features beneath the cloth.  Jesus again slowly, painfully raises his precious head to thank Veronica with his eyes, his heart ~ and the gift of His Sacred Image left on her veil ~ as a visible testament to her act of kindness to this day.
Veronica never forgot the face of her savior as he looked on her with love. Despite his disturbing appearance ~ she is enraptured with love ~ and sorrow for him.  The moment is suspended in time ~ and the angry world disappears. She will never be the same ~ as she has seen Heaven in his face.

The soldiers grab her indignantly and shove her back into the crowd. Our Savior is lead away to continue his slow, agonizing walk of death.
The oppression of the poor; the starving children; the sick in the hospitals; those dying from disease and old age; the forgotten and abandoned; those persecuted because of the colour of their skin or their faith-in all these things we too meet the Crucified Lord in his suffering and rejection and death. "O Mary, help us to comfort those who carry the cross of your Son."

O Virgin most sorrowful, by that keen grief with which thy soul was embittered when thou didst meet thy beloved Son on the way to Calvary, lacerated by the scourges, wet with blood, crowned with thorns, and bearing on His shoulders the heavy cross, on which He was to die for my salvation; obtain for me strength and courage, that, like thee, I may follow my Redeemer on the way of the cross, and submit myself with willingness to whatever tribulations it may please Him to send me......

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.
O, Mother of God, teach me to behold Jesus in His sorrows when I am most tempted to sin.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. The Crucifixion

Mary suffers the agony of death with Jesus.
"They crucified Him. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother. 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." � John XIX, l8-25-27.
Look, devout soul, look to Calvary, whereon are raised two altars of sacrifice, one on the body of Jesus, the other on the heart of Mary. Sad is the sight of that dear Mother drowned in a sea of woe, seeing her beloved Son, part of her very self, cruelly nailed to the shameful tree of the cross. Ah me! how every blow of the hammer, how every stripe which fell on the Saviour's form, fell also on the disconsolate spirit of the Virgin. As she stood at the foot of the cross, pierced by the sword of sorrow, she turned her eyes on Him, until she knew that He lived no longer and had resigned His spirit to His Eternal Father. Then her own soul was like to have left the body and joined itself to that of Jesus.
Yes, truly, O Blessed Mother, the sword pierced your soul. Only by passing through your soul could it penetrate to the body of your Son. When Jesus your Son had given up His spirit, when the cruel spear which pierced His side could no longer touch His soul, it transfixed yours. His soul was no longer there. Yours was. It could not be torn away. We call you more than martyr because your love, which made you suffer with your Son, brought pain of soul far more exquisite than any pain of body. "Woman, behold thy Son"�how keenly those words must have pierced your loving soul! Mere remembrance of them can wring with sorrow our hard, steely hearts. Do not wonder, my brethren, that Ma-ray is said to be martyred in spirit. Want of affection was far from Mary's heart. O, may it be equally far from those of her servants! Christ died in body. Could she not die with Him in her heart?

His death was brought about by a love greater than any man has; hers by a love no other mortal ever had, except she.
'Stripped and jeered by his own nation,Jesus stood in desolation, Giving all He had to give.'
For just a moment, place yourself at the foot of Jesus' Cross. The cruelest violences, insults and indignities the Son of God was not spared! Turn, and behold his poor mother standing there... hardly willing to breath the air, dissolved in an ocean of tears as she watched him slowly die in writhing agony!  Her tortured heart pierced through with burning swords of unimaginable pain and sorrow for her beloved Son... to the point of death.  If not for the grace of God, Mary surely would have died a thousand deaths that day.

Mary had been dreading this moment for more than 30 years since the Prophesy of Simeon.  Do you not think that every time she even looked at her tender son ~ in all that time ~ it did not pain her to think of the terrible death that awaited him?
Think about the Sacred Hands and Feet of Jesus for just a moment. Think about Mary who smothered them with kisses ~ as any tender mother would her sweet baby.  These same sacred hands used to heal and to bless ~ these same precious feet used to bring the good news to the poor and the hopeless ~ she saw driven through with cruel nails, bloodied and pinned to a crude wooden cross. 'Pierced the hands that blessed and cured us,
Pierced the feet that walked to free us, Walked the hill of Calvary.'
Can we see Mary's suffering and not help but have compassion for her also? And in imitation of the beloved apostle St. John, not want to take her into our homes care for, comfort her... even as our own mother?

'Life eternal, death defiant, Bowed his head, the world was silent, Through his death came life anew.'
Seeing his mother there with the disciple whom he loved, Jesus entrusted all of humanity to his Mother: "Woman, there is your Son". In turn he offered his mother to all his disciples: "There is your Mother". In the midst of our sufferings and sorrows the Mother of Jesus is always there at our side. "O Mary comforter of the afflicted, comfort us in our sufferings."

O Virgin most sorrowful, and my sweet Mother Mary, since thou wert left to me as such by the last will of thy Jesus, by those unspeakable pangs which thou didst experience on Calvary at the foot of the cross, when, abandoned by all, despised by the people, given gall to drink, after three hours of agony and having cried out with a loud voice, thy dearest Son commended His spirit to His Eternal Father; obtain for me a great love of suffering, and the grace to love and serve thee as my most sorrowful Mother......

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.
Through you, O Virgin Mother, may we draw the waters of salvation out of the wounds of Christ.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

VI. The Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross

All is over. This is the last crushing blow. The sight of the lifeless body brings back to Mary all the goodness of Jesus, and all the sufferings which that goodness has brought upon Him. "Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen." � Mark XV, 43-46.

Consider the most bitter sorrow which rent the soul of Mary, when she saw the dead body of her dear Jesus on her knees, covered with blood, all torn with deep wounds. O mournful Mother, a bundle of myrrh, indeed, is thy Beloved to thee. Who would not pity thee? Whose heart would not be softened, seeing affliction which would move a stone? Behold John not to be comforted, Magdalen and the other Mary in deep affliction, and Nicodemus, who can scarcely bear her sorrow.

Joseph of Arimathaea requested the body of Jesus, which he took down from the cross. And His Mother received it into her arms. The sorrowing mother took her dead Son and laid Him on her knees Before Jesus is taken down from the cross, His adorable body is struck by the lance of a soldier.  Blood and water issue forth from his side. The nails are pulled from his hands and feet, and He is lowered down the cross on a ladder. Jesus ~ all bloodied, bruised, torn and lifeless is placed in his poor mother's arms. The Crown of thorns having been removed, Mary can now see with horror ~ the deep puncture wounds left in His forehead by the long sharp thorns; They placed upon His sacred head a cap made of plaited thorns to serve Him as a crown.  This cap was woven of thorn branches and in such a manner that many of the hard and sharp thorns would penetrate into the skull, some of them to the ears and others to the eyes.  Hence one of the greatest tortures suffered by the Lord was that of the crown of thorns...
The Sorrowful Mother beholds the holes in Jesus' Hands and Feet that bore the weight of His body as he hung on crude nails; the terrible wound in His side.  His once beautiful face, now swollen and bruised from the reed used by the Romans to strike him viciously about the head after crowning him with thorns and veiling his face.

The Most Sorrowful Mother ponders with deepest emotions all the multiple cruel and mortal wounds her Divine Son willingly endured for humanity. But mixed with her unspeakable pain and grief is a certain motherly pride in her Son ~ as she knows of the countless souls he has saved by this greatest act of His unselfish love. Does she tenderly kiss his adorable head, and wash his Face with her tears ~ or does she have any tears left to cry?

'Stunned and stricken, Mary, Mother In your arms was placed our Brother, "Full of grace" now filled with grief.'
Picture Mary embracing the body of her Son after His crucifixion. What tenderness and undying love! May we embrace others in their suffering and dying and be a source of strength and consolation for them. "O Mary, give us arms to reach out and embrace all those who are broken and hurting in our world."

O virgin most sorrowful, by that grief which so bitterly afflicted thy most pure soul, when thy well beloved Son, taken down from the cross, was placed in thy bosom, and thou didst see in all its detail the cruel torment which my sins had caused Him, soften, I pray thee, my ungrateful heart, that I may bewail my sins and learn truly to compassionate thee.......
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding.

O, Mary, help me to stand beside the Cross with you, whose soul the sword of sorrow has pierced.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

VII. Jesus laid in the Tomb

Mary is utterly forlorn, in solitude, without consolation.
"Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand." John XIX, 41-42.
Consider the sighs which burst from Mary's sad heart when she saw her beloved Jesus laid within the tomb. What grief was hers when she saw the stone lifted to cover that sacred tomb! She gazed a last time on the lifeless body of her Son, and could scarce detach her eyes from those gaping wounds. And when the great stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, oh, then indeed her heart seemed torn from her body!

They place Jesus' body on a slab and quickly anoint it. From there they carry it to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. There, once again, Mary arranges the folds of the winding sheet with her own hands. The tomb is closed and the mourners leave. "Depart from me, I will weep bitterly; labor not to comfort me. There is in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, nor appearance that would attract us to Him. From the sole of the foot to the head, there is no sound spot in Him." "To what can I liken or compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What example can I show you for your comfort, O Virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is your downfall." Yet Mary's deep sorrow did not overshadow her faith in Jesus or her hope in His promise. His death was her hope of resurrection.

Jesus body is wrapped in a cloth, and he is buried quickly and without ceremony in a borrowed sinners' tomb.  His sweet mournful mother bids farewell to the precious body of her son ~ all bloodied and torn for us.  She gently kisses his wounded hands and lays them back over his body.  She takes her place with the other women as they roll the heavy stone back over the entrance to the tomb.
She watches as the stone falls in place with a final great thud. There are no birds singing, the world is silent. And silently, one by one they slowly, tearfully depart.

The pain in her soul is so great that surely if not for the grace of God, she would have died of grief a thousand times over that day. O Poor Sweet Holy Mother!

The beloved apostle St. John urges the Blessed Virgin Mary to leave with him ~ but she is frozen to the spot, unable to move.  Placing his arm gently around her shoulders ~ choking back the tears St. John speaks softly the word, "Mother."
The Blessed Virgin Mary raising her tearful eyes to meet John's realizes her duty towards her beloved Son Jesus now lies with his children. begotten at his death.  Mary then became for us the adopted mother of us all. Jesus' final gift to us before his dying breath.
Slowly the beloved apostle of her Divine Son leads the stricken mother away from the scene to his home.

When "sister death" comes to call for us, Mary, carry us gently to our place of rest, confident that we have loved and forgiven; healed and helped others; loved God and our neighbor as your Son asked us. And pray for us at the hour of death that we might rise with your Son and live in his kingdom where he lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

O Virgin most sorrowful, by the bitter grief which thou didst bear when thou didst accompany the inanimate body of thy beloved Jesus and wert constrained to consign Him to the tomb; grant that the memory of His sacred Passion and Death may be deeply impressed on my heart, and that I may be consumed with love for my God and for thee, my sweetest Mother......

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom.
O, Virgin Mary, may your many sorrows make me rejoice in Heaven's Kingdom.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Three Hail Marys in remembrance of the tears that Mary shed because of the suffering of her Divine Son to obtain true sorrow for our sins.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O most sorrowful Virgin.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Your bitter Passion. Through You, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever.

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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