September 15, 2016

The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady


Meditations based on “The Glories of Mary” by St. Alphonsus Liguori

An Act of Contrition:

O My God,
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help,
to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In His Name, my God, have mercy.
Amen.

Introduction:
  • From birth to death, Jesus suffered for man’s redemption as a victim of love.
  • However, Jesus was not alone in His sufferings. Mary, His Mother, was there to suffer with Him the whole way.
  • Mary, our Mother, was satisfied to endure any torment, than to see our souls lost eternally.
  • So great a love for us, on the part of Mary, deserves both our compassion and our gratitude….
  • If we can make no other return for so much love, at least let us give a few moments this day to meditate on the greatness of the sufferings of Mary... and to pity her in her sorrows.
  • Mary once said to St. Bridget: “I look around at all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity me, and meditate upon my sorrows; and I find that there are very few.”

1) The first sorrow of Our Lady: The Prophecy of Simeon
  • After Jesus was born, He was presented in the temple for the ceremony of purification.
  • Simeon, having received the Divine Child in his arms, foretold to Mary that her son would be a 'mark' for all the persecutions and oppositions of men.
  • "Behold, this Child is set… for a sign which shall be contradicted.” (Luke 2:34) "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce." (Luke 2:35)
  • On this announcement by Simeon, all of Mary’s joy was changed into sorrow.
  • Though the Blessed Mother already knew that the life of her son would be sacrificed for the salvation of the world, yet it was only then, at the temple, that she learnt more distinctly and in greater detail, the sufferings and cruel death that awaited her poor son.
  • To us, our Lord shows mercy. He conceals the trials which await us in life. So that whatever they may be, we would endure them once.
  • However, He did not show Mary this compassion. In all things like unto her son, she always had to see before her eyes, the torments that awaited her; and these were the sufferings of the Passion and death of her beloved Jesus.

Our Father (recite once)

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary (recite 7 times)

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 death.
Amen.

2) The second sorrow of Our Lady: The flight into Egypt
  • Herod, having heard that the expected Messiah was born, foolishly feared that Jesus would deprive him of his kingdom.
  • Therefore, Herod waited to hear from the holy Magi where the King was born, so that Herod might take His life.
  • However, finding himself deceived, he ordered all the infants who could be found in the neighborhood of Bethlehem to be put to death.
  • That is when an angel appeared in a dream to St. Joseph and said: "Arise, and take the Child and His Mother, and fly into Egypt." (Matthew 2:13)
  • By then, the afflicted Mother knew that the prophecy of Simeon concerning her son was already beginning to be fulfilled. "He is set for a sign that shall be contradicted." (Luke 2:34)
  • Seeing that Jesus was no sooner born than He was persecuted, brought much anguish to our Mother’s heart.
  • The journey to Egypt was around 30 days. It was rough and cold as it was winter. Mary was only of the age of 15.   
  • How did they obtain their food? Where did they repose at night? They were exposed to the dangers of robbers and wild beasts with which Egypt was filled.
  • Oh, imagine with how much difficulty did the Holy Family reach Egypt. Now learn that no one receives graces without suffering.

Our Father (recite once)

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary (recite 7 times)

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 death.
Amen.

3) The third sorrow of Our Lady: The loss of the child Jesus in the temple
  • Mary, St. Joseph, and Jesus were accustomed every year at the paschal solemnity to visit the temple.
  • When Jesus was 12, they went as usual, but Jesus remained in Jerusalem after.
  • Mary did not at once perceive it, thinking He was in company with others.
  • When she reached Nazareth, she inquired for her son; but not finding Him, she immediately returned to Jerusalem to seek for Him, and only found Him after 3 days.
  • How much Mary must have suffered when having lost Jesus in Jerusalem for 3 days. She was deprived of His most sweet presence which she had constantly enjoyed.
  • Unhappy souls, who are blinded by the filth of this world, who have only little knowledge of God, suffer only little at not finding God.
  • But, those who have been worthy to find by love the sweet presence of God, grieve bitterly when they find themselves deprived of God.
  • This sorrow of Mary ought to serve as a consolation to those souls who are desolate, and no longer enjoy, as they once enjoyed, the sweet presence of their Lord.
  • Jesus often conceals Himself from a soul which loves Him, so that she may seek Him with a more ardent desire and greater love.
  • But whoever wishes to find Jesus, must seek Him, not amidst delights and the pleasures of the world, but amidst crosses and mortifications, as Mary sought Him.

Our Father (recite once)

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary (recite 7 times)

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 death.
Amen.

4) The fourth sorrow of Our Lady: Mary meets Jesus carrying His Cross
  • When the time of the Passion of our Lord had come, John, the apostle, came and announced to Mary that the most unjust Pilate had already condemned Jesus to die on the Cross.
  • "Come, if thou desirest to see Him, and bid Him a last farewell, in some street through which He must pass."
  • Mary goes with John, and by the blood with which the way is sprinkled, she perceives that her son has already passed.
  • She placed herself at the corner of a street, to meet her afflicted son as He was passing by.
  • After the fatal instruments of death and the executioners had all passed, Mary raised her eyes, and saw a young man covered with blood and wounds from head to feet, a wreath of thorns on His head, and two heavy beams on His shoulders. She looked at Him, and hardly recognized Him. 
  • The Son looked at His Mother, and the Mother looked at her Son. Looks of bitter grief – so many arrows, pierced through and through those two beautiful and loving souls.
  • Mary would have embraced Him but the guards thrust her aside with insults, and urged forward the suffering Lord.
  • Although the sight of her dying Jesus was to cost her such bitter sorrow, the loving Mary did not leave Him.
  • The son advanced, and the mother followed, to be also crucified with her Son.
  • “The Mother also took up her cross and followed, to be crucified with Him." (Abbot William)

Our Father (recite once)

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary (recite 7 times)

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 death.
Amen.

5) The fifth sorrow of Our Lady: The Crucifixion
  • As soon as Jesus had reached the Mount of Calvary, the executioners stripped Him of His clothes, and piercing His hands and feet, they fastened Him on the Cross.
  • Having crucified Him, they planted the Cross, and thus left Him to die.
  • The executioners left Him; but not so Mary. She drew nearer to the Cross, to be present at His death.
  • Mary heard her son exclaim, "I thirst." (John 19:28) but she could not even give Him a drop of water to refresh His great thirst.
  • Then Mary heard her son complain on the Cross that even His Eternal Father had abandoned Him: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)
  • These words most increased the sorrows which Mary endured through compassion for her Son.
  • Yet, she did not scream of injustice. She was silent and accepted her sufferings with obedience and humility.
  • If any consolation entered that sea of bitterness, the heart of Mary, it was that she knew that by her sorrows she was leading us to eternal salvation.

Our Father (recite once)

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary (recite 7 times)

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 death.
Amen.

6) The sixth sorrow of Our Lady: Mary receives the dead body of Jesus
  • "O, how many swords pierced the poor Mother's soul" when she received the body of her Son from the Cross! (St. Bonaventure)
  • Let us only consider the anguish it would cause any mother to receive into her arms the body of her lifeless son.
  • Mary, standing, extended her arms to meet her dear Son.
  • She embraced Him, and then sat at the foot of the Cross.
  • His mouth was open, His eyes were dim.
  • She then examined His mangled flesh and uncovered bones; she took off the crown, and saw the sad injuries which the thorns had inflicted on that sacred head; she saw the holes in His hands and feet. 
  • As she holds the lifeless and disfigured body of her son clasped in her arms, she remembers how she once carried him as an innocent and sweet baby, and how she had pressed that son to her bosom in the crib of Bethlehem.

Our Father (recite once)

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary (recite 7 times)

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 death.
Amen.

7) The seventh sorrow of Our Lady: The body of Jesus is placed in a tomb
  • Mary, with her son locked in her arms, absorbed in grief.
  • The disciples, fearful that the poor Mother might die of grief, approached her to take the body of her son from her arms, to bear it away for burial.
  • The thought that she was to see Him no more was a grief which exceeded all other grieves.
  • The disciples embalmed the body of Jesus and wrapped it in a linen cloth which was already prepared.
  • The disciples then bore Him to the tomb.
  • Choirs of angels from heaven accompanied them; the holy women followed, and the afflicted Mother also followed her son to the place of burial.
  • When they had reached the appointed place, how willingly would Mary have there buried herself alive with her Son, had such been His will!
  • Although she could not remain in the tomb with Jesus, Mary's heart was buried with Jesus’, because Jesus was all her treasure: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
  • And where, may we ask, are our hearts buried?
  • And why not in Jesus, Who, although He has ascended to heaven, is still pleased to remain on earth, not dead indeed, but living in the most holy sacrament of the altar?
  • Were Mary still susceptible of suffering? What would be her grief to see that men, notwithstanding that her Son has died for them, still continue to torment and crucify Him by their sins!
  • Let us, at least, cease to torment this afflicted Mother!

Our Father (recite once)

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary (recite 7 times)

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 death.
Amen.

Ending: 

Glory Be (recite 3 times)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, 
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.