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Re: Devotion on the Seven Sorrows

J.M.J.

“
At the Cross Her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last: Through Her heart His sorrow sharing, All this bitter anguish bearing, Lo! The piercing sword had passed ...”

Stabat Mater...

Dear Volunteer,

Please join us in doing something that pleases Our Lady very much. Enclosed is a new prayer card of Our Lady of Sorrows and a new leaflet promoting The Devotion of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We invite you to join us and Our Lady’s other friends in both practicing and promoting this devotion.

Our Lady made known how pleasing the devotion of meditating on Her sorrows is to Her, when She appeared to seven holy men in Italy, all of whom had strong devotion to Her. Our Lady told them that if they wished to please Her, they could do so by meditating often on Her sorrows. These men became the founders of the religious Order of the Servants of Mary and are all canonized saints today.

The purpose of their institution was meditation on the bitter sufferings which Our Lady endured in the life, passion and death of Her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. They then promoted this devotion of meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady to all Catholics and introduced the Chaplet (or Little Rosary) of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pope Benedict XIII, in 1724, promulgated and encouraged the practice of this devotion when he bestowed many indulgences for the recitation of the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows.

The enclosed leaflet shows how to recite the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The leaflet gives a brief overview of each sorrow, for meditation purposes, while praying the Chaplet.

Our Lady’s Sorrows are commemorated twice a year on the liturgical calendar, September 15, and the Friday before Palm Sunday. Remembering the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary twice a year gives us an indication of how important this devotion is to Heaven.

Here’s what some of the Saints and Doctors of the Church have said about Our Lady’s Sorrows and the practice of this devotion:

“Because of Her love for us, She was willing to see Her Son sacrificed to Divine Justice by the barbarity of men. This great torment which Mary endured for us was more dreadful than a thousand deaths and deserves our sympathy and our gratitude. If we cannot return this love in any other way, let us at least for a few moments consider how great were the sufferings by which Mary became the Queen of Martyrs. The sufferings of Mary's martyrdom surpassed those of all other martyrs. First of all, they lasted longer; and secondly, they were more intense.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori)

“The grief of Mary was so great that, were it divided among all men, it would suffice to cause their immediate death.” (St. Bernardine of Sienna)

“While other martyrs suffered by sacrificing their own lives, the Blessed Virgin suffered by sacrificing Her Son’s life – a life that She loved far more than Her own. Thus She not only suffered in Her soul all that Her Son endured in His body, but moreover the sight of Her Son’s torments brought more grief to Her heart than if She had endured them all in Her own person.” (St. Antoninus)

St. Bernard said, “The Passion of Jesus began with His birth.” Our Lady imitating Her Son in all things, endured a martyrdom throughout Her life. It was revealed to St. Bridget that Mary, even before becoming the Mother of Our Redeemer, understood the degree of the suffering that Our Savior was to endure for the salvation of men and pitied this innocent Savior, who was to be so cruelly put to death for crimes He did not commit.

After She became the Mother of this Savior, Her grief was beyond measure. Her martyrdom was lifelong.

The Blessed Virgin also revealed to St. Bridget that when the time of the Passion of Our Lord was approaching, Her eyes were always filled with tears, as She thought of Her beloved Son, whom She was about to lose on earth, and that the prospect of that approaching suffering caused Her to be seized with fear, and a cold sweat to cover Her whole body.

So great a love has our Heavenly Mother for us, that She deserves our gratitude, and that gratitude should be shown by at least meditating upon, and consoling Her in, Her Sorrows.

But She lamented to St. Bridget that very few did so, and that the greater part of the world lived in forgetfulness of them: “I look around at all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity Me, and meditate on My Sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, My daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do you not forget Me. Meditate on My Sorrows and share in My grief, as far as you can.”

Our Lady’s sufferings were in Her soul, those of the martyrs were in their bodies. Since the soul is more noble than the body, so much greater then were Mary’s sufferings than those of all the martyrs.

Our Lord told St. Catherine of Siena: “Between the sufferings of the soul and those of the body there is no comparison.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Blessed Veronica of Binasco, that He is more pleased in seeing His Mother compassionated than Himself. He said to her: “My daughter, tears shed for My Passion are dear to Me; but as I loved My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation on the torments which She endured at My death is even more agreeable to Me.”

There are four special graces promised to those devoted to the Sorrows of Our Lady and these four graces are listed on the inside front cover of the leaflet.

In addition to these four graces there are also seven promises attached to the practice of daily praying seven Hail Mary’s while meditating on Our Lady’s Tears and Sorrows. These seven promises were revealed by St. Bridget of Sweden:

  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.” (Prayers and Heavenly Promises by Joan Carroll Cruz; Imprimatur: Most Rev. Francis B. Schulte, 1989, pg. 34-35)

What more could we ask for after seeing the four graces promised by Our Lord and these seven promises? We believe that these are indeed great promises and certainly inspire us to practice and promote this devotion. We are sure you will agree, especially after you read the following account from the revelations of St. Bridget.

There was a certain rich man who, as a result of his sinful habits, had given himself up by an express compact to be a slave to the devil. For sixty years he had served satan, leading a most vicious life and never approaching the sacraments. Now this nobleman lay dying.
To show mercy to him, Our Divine Redeemer commanded St. Bridget to tell her confessor to go and visit him and exhort him to confess his sins. The confessor went but the sick man replied that he had no need to confess his sins since he had frequently gone to confession.
The priest went a second time, but the poor slave of the devil remained obstinate in his determination not to go to confession. Jesus once more told the saint to have her confessor go and see him. He did so.
On the third occasion he told the dying man about the revelation made to the saint, and said that he had come back repeatedly because Our Lord wished to show mercy to him and had told the priest to come. On hearing this the dying man was touched and began to weep: "How can I be saved?" he asked. "For sixty years I have been a slave of the devil and my soul is black with innumerable sins."
"Do not be afraid," answered the confessor; "if you are sorry for your sins I can promise you pardon on the part of God." The man began to grow confident. "Father," he said, "I had regarded myself as lost and had despaired of my salvation because of my sins; but now I feel real sorrow and this gives me hope. Since God has apparently not yet abandoned me, I will go to confession."
He made his confession with the greatest fervor. The following morning he received Holy Communion. Soon after, contrite and resigned, he died. Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to St. Bridget and told her that the sinner was saved and was in purgatory. He revealed that it was to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin that the man owed his salvation.
Even though he had led a wicked life, he had nevertheless always preserved devotion to Mary's Sorrows and whenever he thought of them he had always said a prayer to Her.

... Taken from The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, pages 479-480

So we urge you to join us and Our Lady’s other volunteers this month in both practicing and helping to promote the Devotion of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

For more prayer cards and leaflets, call us at 1-800-845-3047 or send in the enclosed reply form

In the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Joanna Swords

P.S.In the months of June and July, you and our other volunteers distributed 102,945 pieces of literature and 39,791 sacramentals; and made 7,700 Rosaries and 22,893 Green Scapulars.