There’s an age old devotion to Mary which has somewhat fallen by the wayside in recent generations. At times, I still find myself hesitant to pray to this Madonna myself. Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows just does not sound sweet. If I’m being honest, it actually sounds like it’s going to be brutally painfully. I mean, who wants to be devoted to sorrow? Who wants to focus on the heavy-hearted?
Embracing the Sweetness
It was a dear friend in college who invited me to pray the novena to Our Lady of Sorrows for the first time. I participated out of love for my friend, thinking I was doing her a favor by interceding for her petition in this way. But I did not know that the experience was going to have such a lasting impact. I did not know that Mary was actually inviting me closer to her heart, that she wanted me to know her deeply, and that she wanted me to learn how to not waste my sufferings.
I also did not know that Mary favors this devotion. The Madonna once revealed to Berth Petit:
This title [Our Lady of Sorrows], willed by my Son, is dear to me above all others. Accordingly, as it is spread everywhere, there will be granted graces of mercy, spiritual renewal and salvation.
Our Lady treasures this title above all the others. Above Theotokos. Above Immaculate Conception. Above Queen of Heaven.
My mind could not help but wonder… Why? Why does she treasure her sorrow so?
Mary is an incredible example to humanity, and as prophesied in Scripture, generations continue to call her blessed. It was Pope St. John Paul II who so brilliantly and simply stated that in the grand scheme of things, Mary did nothing marvelous. She did not conceive herself immaculately. She did not do anything to miraculously conceive Christ. Mary did not assume herself into the celestial realm, and she did not crown herself Queen of Heaven. Those are all things that God did.
Saying “yes” isn’t all that special when you put it next to something as astonishing as the Incarnation. But it was all Mary had to give. It was all she could contribute. And contribute she did, with her whole heart.
In light of this, I find myself wondering if Mary treasures her Seven Sorrows because they were fully hers. They weren’t acts of God working through her. They were her own emotions and experiences which she could give back to God as acts of trust.
Though they were events that pierced her heart and left her bitterly broken, they did not “break” her. Rather, because she continued to say “yes” to God over and over again, even in the midst of her suffering, they united her more fully to her Son.
In this, she helped to bring about salvation (which is why we celebrate her feast the day after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross).These events pierced her heart...but they did not “break” her. Rather, because she continued to say “yes” to God over and over again, even in the midst of her suffering, they united her more fully to her Son. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Following Her Example
If you look at it this way, Our Lady really simplified our understanding of how to approach the Christian way of life. Each and every single one of us can do what she did. Each and every single one of us is capable of saying “yes” to God’s will for our lives. No doubt there will be suffering along the way. But like Mary, we are capable of staying faithful. We can continue to trust, giving our fiat in every moment, and remembering to unite our pains with Christ crucified.
Like her, our suffering, when united with Christ’s on the Cross, contributes to the salvation of souls.
More Reasons to Foster a Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows
Besides the fact that it will help you grow in holiness and not waste chances to win grace for this world, there are additional promises attributed to Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Those Revealed by Mary
Our Lady reserves these seven graces for those who daily pray seven Hail Mary’s while meditating on her sorrows.
- “I will grant peace to their families.”
- “They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries.”
- “I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.”
- “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.”
- “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
- “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death—they will see the face of their mother.”
- “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors 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.”
Those Revealed by Jesus
In a Revelation made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Christ promised these four gifts to His Mother for all those who show devotion to her Sorrowful Heart.
- Those who call upon her Sorrowful name before their death will be granted the grace of true repentance for their sins.
- He will be with them personally throughout their life’s tribulations—and especially on their deathbeds.
- Jesus will inscribe the remembrance of His Passion on their minds and they will obtain a reward for this in eternity.
- He gives Mary “free-reign” in regards to her devotees, obtaining for them whatever graces she desires.
Solacing and Sanctifying
Though she suffered much in her life (more than everyone else in the world combined, according to St. Bernadine), she complained of only one thing: that most people forget the sorrowful aspects of her life and do not grieve alongside her.
This heavenly Mother even asked of St. Bridget, “…my daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do not thou forget me.”
On this feast celebrated in her honor, may we give her the reverence she deserves and desires. Consider praying the Seven Sorrows Rosary.
Do you have a devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows? What has she meant in your life?Our Lady of Sorrows: How to Comfort the Blessed Mother #BISblog // Click To Tweet