Seven guest writers share brief reflections on each of Mary's Seven Sorrows.
Devotion to Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows, took root in the Church around the 14th century. It was revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden that devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary's Seven Sorrows would grant seven extraordinary graces. In contemplating the suffering of Mary, one is drawn ever closer to her Son, Jesus, and his suffering which redeemed the world.
In honor of the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15, we’ve invited seven guest contributors to share a reflection on each of Mary’s Seven Sorrows. We invite you consider including these reflections while praying the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, which you can find as a PDF download.
The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon
Alex Dee, Digital content creator and manager for Family Rosary
“And you yourself a sword will pierce.” These prophetic words spoken to Mary by Simeon speak of the future, but they were also a piercing sword to her heart at that moment. Here, Our Lady stood in the temple looking upon the face of the Christ Child. She listened to Simeon’s joyous words that his eyes had finally seen salvation in her son, Jesus. Followed by the prophecy that this same son would be vehemently opposed to the point of suffering as painful as a sword piercing her very being. Still, she entrusted herself to God’s will for her.”
Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt
Marge Steinhage Fenelon, award-winning author and internationally known speaker
“Have you ever had to move away from a home that you dearly loved? It can be a bittersweet experience as you anticipate the possibilities of your new home yet miss the qualities and familiarity of your old one. Mary, too, had to leave a home she dearly loved but her destination was not one of new opportunities but rather uncertainty. Everything would be foreign — language, food, customs, surroundings, and people. It would require a completely new way of life. Additionally, she feared for the life of her Son and the safety of her family. Without faith, how would she manage?”
Third Sorrow: The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
Oscar Rivera takes his knowledge of the faith and inspires youth and young adults through his music, talks, retreats, and personal testimony
“Have you ever had a nagging feeling that something is missing? Have you ever lost something so important and precious that your stomach drops, your heart races, and your body aches? Our Lady lost the Son of Man and was three days into her journey before she noticed. At the time, men and women did not travel together to and from pilgrimages. There was a big miscommunication between the Holy Family. Regardless, her Son was missing, and with that, the first afflictions of Simeon's prophecy manifested as her heart felt the stabbing pain of losing a precious child.”
Fourth Sorrow: Mary meets Jesus Carrying the Cross
Laura Phelps is a National Catholic Speaker, OSV Author, and blogger/content creator at Walking With Purpose
“It’s been a year since I have seen my son. While I wrestle with God’s plan, I cling to this truth: Mary knows my sorrow. When Jesus passed by Mary on his way to Calvary, she did not stop him. God’s plan was excruciating; still, she trusted it more than her own. When cooperating with God’s plan for my son feels impossible, this fourth sorrow teaches me how to accompany Jesus with my cross, helping me to persevere in suffering, offering me a Mother who understands. Because of Mary, I too can trust that God knows what He is doing.”
Fifth Sorrow: Mary at the Foot of the Cross
Colleen Pressprich, author of Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children and The Women Doctors of the Church
“Presence is a powerful thing. Mary stood in the pain of the crucifixion alongside her son. She couldn’t fix it, couldn’t hold Him or hug Him or make any of it better. Still, she stayed; she stood. She didn’t fall apart. She didn’t collapse under the weight of her grief. She focused on Christ and what He needed, not her pain. Mary, at the foot of the cross, challenges me to draw closer to the pain of those I love, not away—to be with them and accompany them, even if I don’t have anything to offer but my presence.”
Sixth Sorrow: Jesus Taken Down from the Cross
Mary Lenaburg is an International Speaker and Author of Be Brave in the Scared and Be Bold in the Broken
“As I reflect on the Sixth Sorrow of Our Lady, the body of Jesus being taken from the Cross, what immediately comes to mind for me is the beautiful sculpture by Michelangelo—Pietà. The first time I saw it in person I wept. To look at Our Lady’s face filled with such resolve; her eyes not on Jesus but looking down at us. Her hands are not grasping or holding him close, but open, offering her Son to the world. The power of her personal sacrifice stays with me daily. May I walk in her footsteps, offering ALL to the Lord.”
Seventh Sorrow: Mary Witnesses the Burial of Jesus
David and Mercedes Rizzo are the authors of Praying for Your Special Needs Child, Spiritually Able, and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit.
Any mother witnessing the burial of her son is tragic, especially when that child suffered a terrible death. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Mary may not have understood God's plans but relying completely on Him she receives the grace and strength to find hope in God's promises. We can be strengthened by Mary's sorrow and Mary's trust when we face our own sorrows.
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