September 15, A.D. 2017 – Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Calendar for the Traditional Roman Rite
Devotion to the Sorrows of Mary has always been a favorite devotion among Catholics. It has been sanctioned by the Church and introduced into the Missal and Breviary. In order to keep before our minds the inexpressible sufferings endured for us by the Mother of God while she lived here on earth with her Divine Son, the Church observes two feasts in honor of the Seven Dolors of Mary; one on the Friday before Good Friday and the other on September 15.
She has enriched with numerous indulgences the Rosary of the Seven Dolors, as well as a number of other devotions to the Mother of Sorrows. How touching is the beautiful hymn, Stabat Mater Dolorosa, which the Church intertwines with the public recitation of the Way of the Cross. The Church spares no pain to induce her children to venerate the sufferings of their Heavenly Mother. Seven of her sorrows have been chosen for our special veneration. Holy Church recalls to our mind only seven of Our Lady’s Dolors, but who could form an estimate of their real number! The sufferings of the Mother of God cannot be comprehended; they are inconceivable. But although her whole life was, like that of her Divine Son, a continuous series of sufferings and tribulations, the greatest woes and trials came to her during the week of the bitter passion and death of Jesus, when the storm of hatred and fury burst forth with all violence against Him. The precise object of the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows consists of a heartfelt and sincere compassion for the Sorrows which the most holy Virgin endured through her whole life, especially for her long martyrdom, which began with the prophecy of holy Simeon and was consummated on Calvary.
Devotion to the sorrows of Mary should be practiced especially by souls who wish to rid themselves of sinful habits. This devotion nourishes the spirit of compunction, affords great consolation, strengthens confidence in God’s mercy, draws down the special protection of the Blessed Mother in the hour of temptation and preserves the converted sinner from relapsing into sin. The Mother of God once said to her faithful servant St. Bridget: “No matter how numerous a person’s sins may be, if he turns to me with a sincere purpose of amendment, I am prepared forthwith to receive him graciously, for I do not regard the number of sins he has committed, but look only upon the dispositions with which he comes to me; for I feel no aversion in healing his wounds, because I am called and am in truth the Mother of Mercy.” One of the gifts granted to those who have a devotion to the Dolors of Mary is the grace of a good and holy death. In recompense for her fidelity in remaining near to Jesus as He died on the Cross, Our Lady of Sorrows has received from Him a special power to assist souls in their last agony and no doubt she will above all exercise this power in behalf of those who have wept with her and compassionated her.
Our Lord once said to Veronica of Binasco: “My daughter, the tears which you shed in compassion for My sufferings are pleasing to Me, but bear in mind that on account of My infinite love for My Mother, the tears you shed in compassion for her sufferings are still more precious.”
The prophecy of Simeon: “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).
The flight into Egypt: “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).
The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple: “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).
The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross: “And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him” (Luke XXIII: 27).
The Crucifixion: “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).
The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross: “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).
The burial of Jesus: “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).
Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
In the Kingdom of the Divine Will
From the Writings of
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will
Feast of the Seven Dolors (Sorrows) of
the Blessed Virgin Mary
The seven dolors of the Blessed Virgin are the chief sorrowful events in the life of Our Blessed Lady. They are:
The circumcision of our Lord — when she saw his blood shed for the first time;
Her flight into Egypt — to save the life of the Infant Jesus, when Herod sought to kill Him;
The three days she lost her Son in Jerusalem;
When she saw him carrying the cross;
When she saw him die;
When His dead body was taken down from the cross;
When it was laid in the sepulchre or tomb.
First Sorrow – The circumcision of our Lord
Meditation 2 – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will
Now, you must know that only eight days had passed from the birth of the Divine Infant. Everything was feast and happiness; the very Creation, taking a festive attitude, celebrated Its Baby Creator. But duty interrupted our joys, because in those times there was a law that all firstborn sons were to undergo the cruel cut of circumcision. My Heart of Mother bled with sorrow in having to submit my dear Son, my Life, my own Creator, to such a bitter pain. Oh, how I would have wanted to take His place! But the Supreme Volition imposed Itself on my love, and giving Me heroism, commanded Me to circumcise the Baby God. My child, you cannot comprehend how much it cost Me; but the Divine Fiat won, and I obeyed, united with Saint Joseph. In mutual agreement, we had my dear Son circumcised. At the painful cut, I felt my Heart being torn, and I cried. Saint Joseph cried too, and my dear Baby sobbed, and His pain was such that He shivered, and looking at me, He sought help. What an hour of pain and spasm for the three of us! It was such that, more than a sea, it engulfed all creatures, to bring them the first pledge and the very Life of my Son, to place them in safety. Now, blessed child, you must know that this cut enclosed profound mysteries: first, it was the seal that impressed in the little Humanity of the Celestial Baby His brotherhood with the whole human family; and the blood He shed was the first disbursement before Divine Justice in order to ransom all human generations. The dear Baby was innocent – He was not obliged by the law; but He wanted to submit Himself, first, to give the example; and then, to infuse trust and courage, saying to all: “Do not fear; I am your little brother, similar to you. Let us love one another, and I will place you all in safety. I will bring you all to my Celestial Father, as my dear brothers.” My child, what an example the Celestial Baby gives! He, Who is the Author of the law, obeys the law. He is born only eight days ago, yet He makes it a duty for Himself, submitting Himself to the cruel cut of circumcision; an indelible cut – as indelible as the union He came to form with degraded humanity. This says that sanctity is in doing one’s own duty, in the observance of the laws, and in fulfilling the Divine Will. Sanctity without duty does not exist. It is duty that places order, harmony, and the seal on sanctity.
Second Sorrow – Her flight into Egypt
Day Twenty-four – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
My dearest child, today the Heart of your Mama is swollen with love and with sorrow, so much so, that I cannot refrain from crying. You know of the coming of the Magi Kings, who caused rumor in Jerusalem, asking about the new King. And cruel Herod, for fear of being removed from his throne, has already given the mandate to kill my sweet Jesus, my dear life, together with all the other children. My child, what pain! The One who has come to give life to all, and to bring into the world the new era of peace, of happiness, of grace…they want to kill Him! What ingratitude! What perfidy! Ah, my child, to what extent the blindness of the human will reaches! To the extent of becoming ferocious, of tying the hands of the Creator Himself, and of making itself the owner of the One who created it. Give Me your compassion, my child, and try to calm the crying of the sweet Baby. He cries because of human ingratitude, because, only a newborn, they want Him dead; and in order to save Him, we are forced to flee. Dear Saint Joseph has already been advised by the Angel to leave for a foreign land. Accompany us, dear child; do not leave us alone, and I will continue to give you my lessons on the great evils of the human will. Now, you must know that as man withdrew from the Divine Will, he broke off with his Creator. Everything on earth had been made by God for him – everything was his; but man, by not wanting to do the Divine Will, lost all rights, and one could say that he did not know where to place his foot. So He became a poor exiled one, a pilgrim who could not have a permanent residence; and this, not only for the soul, but also for the body. All things became mutable for poor man; and if he did possess any fleeting thing, it was by virtue of the foreseen merits of this Celestial Baby. This, because the whole magnificence of Creation was destined by God for all those who would do His Will and live in Its Kingdom. All others, if they manage to take anything, are the true petty thieves of their Creator; and with reason: they do not want to do the Divine Will, but they want the goods which belong to It? Now, dear child, listen to how much this dear Baby and I love you: at the first dawn of His life, He goes into exile, and into a foreign land, in order to free you from the exile in which your human will placed you; to call you to live, not in a foreign land, but in your fatherland – the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat – which was given to you when you were created. Child of my Heart, have pity on the tears of your Mother, and on the tears of this sweet dear Baby – crying, We ask you never to do your will. But We beg you, We implore you: come back into the bosom of the Divine Will, which so much longs for you! Now, dear child, in the midst of the sorrow for human ingratitude, and in the midst of the immense joys and happinesses that the Divine Fiat gave us and the feast that all Creation made for the sweet Baby, the earth became green and flowery again under our steps, to give homage to its Creator. The sun fixed on Him, and praising Him with its light, it felt honored to give Him its light and heat. The wind caressed Him; the birds, almost like clouds, alighted around us, and with their trills and songs, made the most beautiful lullabies for the dear Baby, to calm His crying and favor His sleep. My child, since the Divine Will was in us, we had power over everything. So we arrived in Egypt, and after a long period of time, the Angel of the Lord told Saint Joseph that we should return to the house of Nazareth, because the cruel tyrant had died. So we repatriated to our homeland.
Now, Egypt symbolizes the human will – a land full of idols; and wherever Baby Jesus passed, He would knock down these idols and cast them into hell. How many idols does the human will possess! Idols of vainglory, of self-esteem and of passion, which tyrannize the poor creature! Therefore, be attentive; listen to your Mama. I would make any sacrifice never to let you do your will; and I would also lay down my life, to give you the great good of living always in the bosom of the Divine Will.
Third Sorrow – The three days she lost her Son in Jerusalem
Meditation 5 – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
We continued to spend our lives in the quiet little house of Nazareth, and my dear Son grew in grace and in wisdom. He was charming because of the sweetness and the gentleness of His voice, the sweet enchantment of His eyes, and the loveliness of His whole person. Yes, my Son was truly beautiful, unsurpassingly beautiful! He had recently reached the age of twelve, when we went to Jerusalem according to custom, in order to solemnize the Passover. We set out on the journey – He, Saint Joseph and I. Very often, as we proceeded, with devotion and recollected, my Jesus would break the silence and speak to us now of His celestial Father, now of the immense love for souls which He felt in His Heart. Once in Jerusalem, we went directly to the temple, and as we arrived, we prostrated ourselves with our faces to the ground, adoring God profoundly, and praying for a long time. Our prayer was so fervent and recollected as to open the heavens, draw and bind the Celestial Father, and therefore hasten the reconciliation between Him and men. … After we had fulfilled our duty in the temple and celebrated the Passover, we prepared to return to Nazareth. In the confusion of the crowd, we were separated; I remained with the women, and Joseph joined the men. I looked around to see whether my Jesus had come with Me, but, not seeing Him, I thought He had remained with his father Joseph. But what was not the surprise and the concern I felt when, as we arrived at the place at which we were to reunite, I did not see Him at his side! Unaware of what had happened, we felt such fright and such pain that we both remained mute. Overcome with sorrow, we went back hurriedly, anxiously asking those whom we met: “O tell us if you have seen Jesus, our Son, for we can not live without Him!” Crying, we would describe His features: “He is all lovable; His beautiful azure eyes sparkle with light and speak to the heart; His gaze strikes, enraptures and binds; His forehead is majestic; His face is beautiful, of an enchanting beauty; His most sweet voice descends deep into the heart and sweetens all bitternesses; His hair, curly and like finest gold, renders Him striking and charming. All is majesty, dignity and sanctity in Him. He is the most beautiful among the sons of men!” But in spite of our searching, nobody was able to tell us anything. The sorrow I felt was so cruel as to make Me weep bitterly, opening, every instant, deep gashes in my soul, which caused Me true spasms of death. Dear child, if Jesus was my Son, He was also my God; therefore my sorrow was wholly within the divine order – that is, so powerful and immense as to surpass all other possible torments together. If the Fiat which I possessed had not sustained Me continuously with Its divine strength, I would have died of shock. Seeing that no one was able to give us information, I anxiously questioned the Angels who surrounded Me: “But, tell Me, where is my beloved Jesus? Where should I direct my steps in order to find Him? O, tell Him I can bear no more; bring Him into my arms on your wings! My Angels, have pity on my tears, help Me – bring Me Jesus!” In the meantime, as every search had turned out in vain, we returned to Jerusalem. After three days of most bitter sighs, tears, anxieties and fears, we entered the temple. I was all eyes and looked everywhere, when, finally, overcome with jubilation, I saw my Son in the midst of the doctors of the law! He was speaking with such wisdom and majesty as to make those who were listening remain enraptured and amazed. Just in seeing Him, I felt life come back to Me, and immediately I understood the secret reason of His being lost. And now, a little word to you, dearest child. In this mystery, my Son wanted to give to Me and to you, a sublime teaching. Could you perhaps assume that He was ignoring what I was suffering? On the contrary, my tears, my searching, and my cruel and intense sorrow, resounded in His heart. Yet, during those hours, so painful, He sacrificed to the Divine Will, His own Mama, the one whom He loves so much, in order to show Me how I too, one day, was to sacrifice His very Life to the Supreme Will.
Fourth Sorrow – When she saw him carrying the cross
Hours of the Passion – The Eighteenth Hour
My Life, Jesus, making You suffer unheard-of spasms, your enemies have managed to put You on your feet, and as You walk, staggering, I hear your panting breath. Your Heart beats more strongly and new pains pierce It intensely. You shake your head in order to clear your eyes from the blood that fills them, and You gaze anxiously. Ah, my Jesus, I understood everything – your Mama, who is searching for You like a moaning dove, wants to tell You one last word, and receive your last gaze; and You feel Her pains, Her heart lacerated in Yours, moved and wounded by Her love and by Yours. You see Her pushing Her way through the crowd, wanting at any cost to see You, to hug You, to give You the last good-bye. But You are more transfixed in seeing Her mortal paleness, and all of your pains reproduced in Her by force of Love. If She lives, it is only by a miracle of your Omnipotence. You move your steps toward hers, but you can hardly exchange a glance! Oh, pang of your two Hearts! The soldiers notice it, and with blows and shoving prevent Mama and Son from exchanging the last good-bye. The torment of both is such that your Mama remains petrified by the pain, and is about to die. Faithful John and the pious women sustain Her, while You fall again under the Cross. Then, your sorrowful Mama does with Her soul that which She cannot do with Her Body, because She is prevented: She enters into You, makes the Will of the Eternal One Her own, and associating Herself in all your pains, performs the office of your Mother, kisses You, repairs You, soothes You, and pours the balm of Her sorrowful love into all your wounds! My suffering Jesus, I too unite with the pierced Mama. I make all your pains, and every drop of your Blood my own; in each wound I want to act as a mama for You, and together with Her, and with You, I repair for all the dangerous encounters, and for those who expose themselves to occasions of sin, or, forced by necessity to be exposed, remain entangled in sin.
Fifth Sorrow – When she saw him die
Hours of the Passion – Twenty-second Hour
My dying Crucified, Jesus, You are now about to give the last breaths of your mortal life; your Most Holy Humanity is already stiffened; your Heart seems to beat no longer. With Magdalene I cling to your feet and, if it were possible, I would like to give my life to revive Yours. Meanwhile, O Jesus, I see that You open your dying eyes again, and You look around from the Cross, as though wanting to give the last good-bye to all. You look at your dying Mama, who no longer has motion or voice, so many are the pains She feels; and You say: “Good-bye Mama, I am leaving, but I will keep You in my Heart. You, take care of my children and yours.” You look at crying Magdalene, faithful John and your very enemies, and with your gazes You say to them: “I forgive you; I give you the kiss of peace.” Nothing escapes your gaze; You take leave of everyone and forgive everyone. Then, You gather all your strengths, and with a loud and thundering voice, You cry out: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”. And bowing your head, You breathe your last. My Jesus, at this cry all nature is shaken and cries over your death – the death of its Creator! The earth trembles strongly; and with its trembling, it seems to be crying and wanting to shake up souls to recognize You as true God. The veil of the Temple is torn, the dead are risen; the sun, which until now had cried over your pains, has withdrawn its light with horror. At this cry, your enemies fall on their knees, and beating their breasts, they say: “Truly He is the Son of God.” And your Mother, petrified and dying, suffers pains harder than death. My dead Jesus, with this cry You also place all of us into the hands of the Father, because You do not reject us. Therefore You cry out loudly, not only with your voice, but with all your pains and with the voices of your Blood: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit and all souls.” My Jesus, I too abandon myself in You; give me the grace to die completely in your love – in your Will, and I pray that You never permit me, either in life or in death, to go out of your Most Holy Will. Meanwhile I intend to repair for all those who do not abandon themselves perfectly to your Most Holy Will, therefore losing or maiming the precious gift of your Redemption. What is not the sorrow of your Heart, O my Jesus, in seeing so many creatures escaping from your arms and abandoning themselves to themselves? Have pity on all, O my Jesus – have pity on me.
Sixth Sorrow – When His dead body was taken down from the cross
Hours of the Passion – Twenty-third Hour
My dead Jesus, I see that your disciples hasten to depose You from the Cross. Joseph and Nicodemus, who have remained hidden until now, with courage and without fearing anything, now want to give You an honorable burial. So they take hammers and pincers, to perform the sacred and sad unnailing from the Cross, while your pierced Mama stretches out Her maternal arms to receive You on Her lap. My Jesus, while they unnail You, I too want to help your disciples to sustain your Most Holy Body; and with the nails they remove from You, nail me completely to Yourself. With your Holy Mother, I want to adore You and kiss You, and then enclose myself in your Heart, never to leave again.
Seventh Sorrow – When it was laid in the sepulchre or tomb.
Hours of the Passion – Twenty-fourth Hour
Tormented Mama, I see You hasten, because those who surround You want to close the sepulcher. Almost flying, You take the Hands of Jesus between yours, You kiss them, You press them to your Heart; and placing your hands in His, You take for Yourself the pains and the piercings of those Most Holy Hands. Then You fly over the Feet of Jesus, looking at the cruel torture which the nails have made in them; and as You place your feet in them, You take for Yourself those wounds, and You offer Yourself to run toward sinners in the place of Jesus, in order to snatch them from hell. Anguishing Mama, I see You give the last good-bye to the pierced Heart of Jesus. Here You pause. It is the last assault to your Maternal Heart; You feel It being torn from your breast because of the vehemence of love and pain and, alone, It runs to place Itself in the Most Holy Heart of Jesus. And You, in seeing Yourself without a heart, hasten to take His Most Holy Heart into yours – His Love rejected by many creatures, His many ardent desires not fulfilled because of their ingratitudes, and the pains and piercings of that Most Holy Heart, which will keep You crucified for the rest of your life. In looking at the wide wound, You kiss it, You lap up the Blood; and feeling the Life of Jesus in Yourself, You have the strength to fulfill the bitter separation. Then You embrace Him, and You allow the sepulchral stone to close on Him.