About this day, Abbot Prosper Guéranger comments how Our Lady, whom God predestined to be the Mother of His Son, was united in her person to the life, mysteries and suffering of Jesus, so that she might be a faithful cooperator in the work of Redemption.
He notes that God must consider suffering to be a great good since He gave so much suffering to His Son, Whom He loved so much. And since, after His Son, God loved the Holy Virgin more than any other creature, He also wanted to give her suffering as the richest of all presents.
In the solemnity of this feast, we principally remember Mary on Calvary where she suffered the supreme sorrow of all sorrows that filled her life. Indeed, so great was Mary's grief on Calvary that, had it been divided among all creatures capable of suffering, it would have caused them all to die instantly.
If the Church limits the number of sorrows to seven, it is because this number has always symbolized the idea of totality and universality. To understand the extent and suffering of Our Lady, one must know the extent of her love for Jesus. Her love as Mother of God only augmented her suffering. In fact, nature and grace came together to produce profound impressions on the heart of Mary. Nothing is stronger and more pressing than the love that nature gives a mother for her son or that grace gives for God.
These considerations help us understand the role of suffering in our lives.
We see we are not alone in our suffering. In fact, the immensity of the crosses suffered by Our Lady was so great that we might also say she suffered not seven, but all sorrows. She is Our Lady of All Sorrows since no one suffered more.
While it is true that all generations will call her blessed, to a lesser but immensely real degree, all generations may also call her "sorrowful."
Thus, we need to understand better that when sorrow enters our lives, it is a proof of God's love. And when we are not visited with sorrow, we do not have all the proofs of God's love for us.
It is in sorrow that our mettle is tested. Moreover, one finds a note of maturity, stability and rationality in those who suffer and who suffer much. And so we should understand that when adversity, difficulties, misunderstandings, bad health and conflicts visit us, we must not see them as things that should never happen. To suffer is normal in this vale of tears.
If she, whom God loves so much, suffered, how much more should we suffer. He, who God and Our Lady love, suffers because God will not refuse to give him that which He gave abundantly to the two whom He loved most: Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady.
Thus, we must see temptations, trials, stress and so many other sufferings as something normal in life. We must ask that sufferings pass but when they persist, we must bless God and Our Lady.
Petitions to the Sorrowful Heart of Mary
The Seven Dolors of the Mother of God
V. Incline unto my aid, O God!
R. O Lord, make haste to help me!
One Glory Be.
1. I compassionate thee, O sorrowful Mother Mary, on account of that grief suffered by thy tender heart at the prophecy of the aged Holy Simeon. O dearest Mother, through this thy afflicted heart, implore for me the virtue of humility and the Gift of the Fear of God. One Hail Mary.
2. I compassionate thee, O sorrowful Mother Mary, on account of those distressing fears which thy affectionate heart endured on the flight to Egypt and during thy sojourn there. O dearest Mother, through this thy anxious heart implore for me the virtue of generosity, particularly for the poor, and the Gift of Piety. One Hail Mary.
3. I compassionate thee, O sorrowful Mother Mary, on account of that anxiety which thy worried heart endured in the loss of thy beloved Child Jesus. O dearest Mother, through this thy exceedingly troubled heart, implore for me the virtue of chastity and the Gift of Knowledge. One Hail Mary.
4. I compassionate thee, O sorrowful Mother Mary, on account of that horror with which thy mother's heart was stricken when meeting Jesus, bearing the Cross. O dearest Mother, through this thy exceedingly oppressed heart, implore for me the virtue of patience and the Gift of Fortitude. One Hail Mary.
5. I compassionate thee, O sorrowful Mother Mary, on account of that martyrdom which tortured thy magnanimous heart at the death-agony of Jesus. O dearest Mother, through this thy martyred heart, implore for me the virtue of temperance and the Gift of Counsel. One Hail Mary.
6. I compassionate thee, O sorrowful Mother Mary, on account of the anguish inflicted upon thy tender heart by the thrust of the lance that opened the side of Jesus and pierced His Most Adorable Heart. O dearest Mother, through this vicarious transfixion of thy own heart, implore for me the virtue of brotherly love and the Gift of Understanding. One Hail Mary.
7. I compassionate thee, O sorrowful Mother Mary, on account of that agony of soul which racked thy most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. O dearest Mother, through this extreme torment that filled thy burdened heart, implore for me the virtue of zeal and the Gift of Wisdom. One Hail Mary.
V. Pray for us, O Virgin Most Sorrowful!
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, we beseech thee that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, whose soul was pierced by the Sword of Sorrow in the hour of Thy Passion, may be our advocate at the throne of Thy Mercy, now, and at the hour of our death. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the World, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.
Here are seven graces the Blessed Virgin Mary grants to souls who honor Her daily by saying seven Hail Marys and meditating on Her tears and Dolors. The devotion was passed to us by Saint Bridget.
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 (this grace) from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and sorrows, 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 Seven Sorrows of Mary
1. The prophecy of Simeon.
2. The flight into Egypt.
3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple.
4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
5. The Crucifixion.
6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.
7. The burial of Jesus.