In this selection from The Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers, Rachel M. Bulman shares a reflection on the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, sometimes called the Servite Rosary, is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady of Sorrows is often depicted with a tear-stained face and seven long knives or daggers piercing her heart. You can adapt traditional rosary beads to pray this chaplet, or you can use the chaplet beads designed specifically for the Servite Rosary. Announce each of the sorrows on the large beads, then say an Our Father and seven Hail Marys while meditating on that sorrow, using the scriptural passages provided below. Say “Virgin Most Sorrowful, pray for us” at the end of each decade.
Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows
The First Sorrow: Mary hears the Prophecy of Simeon (Lk 2:34–35).
The Second Sorrow: Mary flees into Egypt with Jesus and Joseph (Mt 2:13–18).
The Third Sorrow: Mary and Joseph seek the child Jesus lost in Jerusalem (Lk 2:41–51).
The Fourth Sorrow: Mary meets Jesus on the Via Dolorosa (Lk 23:27).
The Fifth Sorrow: Mary stands beneath the Cross of her crucified son (Jn 19:18, 25–27).
The Sixth Sorrow: Mary receives the body of her son from the Cross (Mk 15:43–46).
The Seventh Sorrow: Mary witnesses the burial of Jesus in a borrowed tomb (Jn 19:41–42).
Let us pray:
Our Lady of Sorrows, from the utterance of Simeon’s dire prophecy regarding your infant son to the final glimpse of your son’s linen-wrapped body laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, each moment of your life was a moment of letting go, of your heart being softened to the point of piercing to allow all of humankind to pass through. Each of your sorrows was part of your mission to be in your very person the Church, bound to both Christ’s Mystical and physical body, and destined in your perfect union with him to become the mother of all Christians. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us your children, that we would offer our sorrows each day to the Father, in union with your most beloved son. Queen of Sorrows, pray for us.
It may seem rather odd to devote ourselves to a sorrowful mother. How does one find solace in a being so seemingly full of woe? But as with all things Marian, in this mode Mary of Nazareth continues to personify the perfection of humanity for us. Mary’s sorrowful, Immaculate Heart is a shining mirror of the Sacred Heart she loved so completely, from the first moment of her unconditional and unrestrained yes to God. Her sorrow does not diminish or weaken her personhood or undermine her mission. Instead, her sorrows highlight the profundity of her call as Mother, as Theotokos, and as the Help of Christians.
The sorrows of Mary are a point of departure for each of us, to choose at each step whether our hearts will remain open and receptive, or closed and hard. These heavy events in Mary’s life remind us that she can relate to everything we have suffered: leaving our homes, losing track of our children, watching our beloved ones suffer or even die, and more. Sorrow is present in every life, and Our Lady shows us that in order to rise with Christ, we must first endure the Cross; the journey to holiness must include sorrow. And when the grief and fear seem too great to bear, Our Lady waits, prays, and weeps with us, consoles us, and ultimately teaches us to persevere in hope. We find solace beneath her mantle — because of her solidarity with our sorrow but even more because of her Immaculate Heart’s ability to see past it. Her sorrow is unselfish and grounded in love, and we find consolation there because her ultimate longing is for our hearts — for all of us to be united to her son. Until that time, we weep in sorrowful love for all of mankind, and beg the intercessory prayers of the Theotokos; Our Lady, Undoer of Knots; the Help of Christians. The Mother.
This is an excerpt from The Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers, which will be published November 5. 2021.
The Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers is your go-to resource to find the perfect words to lift up in prayer for almost any occasion or need. This beautiful, full-color, hardcover book includes a collection of original and traditional prayers and reflections from dozens of moms just like you. You might need “A Kitchen Sink Offering,” “The Nine Annoying Things Novena,” “The Rosary for Warriors,” or “A Birthday Prayer.” Or you might want to read about more traditional prayers such as the Angelus, the Jesus Prayer, or the Memorare.
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Copyright 2021 Rachel M. Bulman
Images courtesy of Ave Maria Press. All rights reserved.
This excerpt from The Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers is printed here with the kind permission of Ave Maria Press.
About the Author
Rachel Bulman joined the Catholic Church in 2008. She is a wife, mother, writer, and speaker, but most of all, she is a child of God. She has a weakness for the Eucharist and really good ice cream, obviously not at the same time. Get to know more about Rachel at RachelBulman.com or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @rachelbulman.