For all the joy and love in Mary’s life, it is hard to forget the immense sorrow and pain she also endured for her son and for us, her spiritual children. When Mary appeared to the visionaries in Kibeho, Rwanda, she asked that the Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary be recited. They’re based on scriptural events in the life of Jesus and Mary that reveal her sorrows.
The Blessed Mother grants seven graces to those who pray her devotion to the seven sorrows: peace to their families, enlightenment of the divine mysteries, consolation in pains and accompaniment in their work, as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the (word choice here?) will of Her divine Son or the sanctification of their souls, defense in spiritual battles and protection for all of their lives, visible help at the time of their death, (they will see the face of their mother) and that those who propagate this devotion to her tears and sorrows will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven, and she, along with her Son will be their eternal consolation and joy. No small graces, if you ask me! Let’s dive into the sorrows, shall we?
The First Sorrow: The Prophecy
This is the prophecy made by Simeon, a man known in Jerusalem for his holiness. "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 2:34-35 How broken must Mary’s heart have been at these words? Thy own soul a sword shall pierce? Not her body, that would be bad enough, but her SOUL would be pierced by a sword. The pain and heartbreak would be THAT intense.
The Second Sorrow: The Flight
This is when Mary and Joseph had to take baby Jesus and flee their homes for safety in Egypt. Herod was killing all of the young boys up to two years old because the Magi had escaped him. They didn’t go back to report the birthplace or identity of the “new king,” to him. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt, “…and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” Matthew 2:13-15 Mary and Joseph had this most precious baby boy, and in order to save His life, they had to flee to a land with which they were unfamiliar. They lived there until Herod died, which had to have been a remarkable relief for the family.
The Third Sorrow: The Loss
When Mary and Joseph were heading home from Jerusalem, it would have been in a large caravan of people. Friends, family, neighbors, and the like would have all traveled together. It wouldn’t be that unusual for a child to not be right by his parents the whole time. So at the end of the trip, Joseph and Mary start asking around, and nobody knows where Jesus is! Yikes! “And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him.” Luke 2:43-45
I’m not a mother, so I cannot imagine the terrible fear that would go through a mother’s mind upon losing her child. Think of the grief and terror she must have felt. No cell phone to track His location, just backtracking their entire day’s journey to Jerusalem and hoping they’d find Him there.
Reflection Question 1: Which of these sorrows sticks with you the most? What would be the hardest for you to cope with?
Reflection Question 2: When you read of the graces Mary offers those who practice this devotional, which is most appealing and calls to your heart the most?
Act: Say a prayer for your mom. Better yet, give her a call. Shoot her a text.