On Calvary, while Jesus’ great sacrifice was being accomplished, two victims could be seen: The Son, who sacrificed His body with His death, and Mother Mary, who sacrificed Her soul with Her compassion. The Heart of the Virgin was the reflection of the pains of Jesus.
Ordinarily, a mother feels the suffering of her children more than her own. How much did Our Lady have to suffer to see Jesus die on the Cross! St. Bonaventure says that all those wounds that were scattered on the body of Jesus, were at the same time all united in the Heart of Mary. The more you love a person, the more you suffer when you see the other suffer. The love that the Virgin had for Jesus was immeasurable; She loved Him with a supernatural love as his God and with a natural love as his Son; and having a very delicate Heart, She suffered so much as to deserve the title of Sorrowful Mother and Queen of Martyrs.
The Prophet Jeremiah, many centuries before, contemplated Her in a vision at the feet of the dying Christ and said: ” What can I say for you? With what can I compare you, Daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, Virgin Daughter Zion? Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you? “(Jeremiah, Lam. II, 13). And the same Prophet puts these words in the mouth of Our Lady of Sorrows: ” Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,” (Lamentations, I, 12).
Saint Albert the Great says: “As we are obliged to Jesus for his Passion suffered for our love, so too we are obliged to Mary for the martyrdom she had in the death of Jesus for our eternal health.
Our gratitude to Our Lady is at least this: to meditate and to have compassion with Her sorrows.
Jesus revealed to Blessed Veronica da Binasco that He is very pleased to see Her Mother shown compassion, because the tears that She spread on Calvary are dear to him.
The same Virgin was grieved with St. Bridget that very few are those who have compassion with Her and most forget Her sorrows; so, She urged her to have always in our memory Her sorrows.
The Church to honor Our Lady of Sorrows has instituted a liturgical feast, which occurs on the fifteenth of September.
Privately it is good to remember every day the pains of the Madonna. How many devotees of Mary recite the crown of Our Lady of Sorrows every day! This crown has seven part and each of these has seven grains. May the company of those who honor the Sorrowful Virgin grow ever wider!
It is a good practice, the daily recitation of the prayer of the Seven Sorrows, which is found in many books of devotion, for example, in the ” Massime Eterne”.
In the “Glories of Mary” St. Alphonsus writes: It was revealed to St. Elizabeth the Queen that St. John the Evangelist wished to see the Blessed Virgin, after being taken to Heaven. He had the grace and our Lady and Jesus appeared to him; and on that occasion he understood that Mary had asked the Son for some special grace for the devotees of his sorrows. Jesus promised four main graces:
1. Whoever invokes the Divine Mother for Her sorrows, will deserves before his death to be able to make true penance of all his sins.
2. Jesus will guard these devotees in their tribulations, especially at the time of their death.
3. He will impress in them the memory of His Passion, which will bring them a great reward in Heaven.
4. Jesus will place these devotees in the hands of Mary, so that She may dispose of them at Her pleasure and they will obtain all the graces they want.
A rich man, abandoned the path of a good life and gave himself completely to many vices. Blinded by his passions, he expressly made a pact with the devil, protesting to give him his soul after death. After seventy years of a sinful life he reached the point of his death.
Jesus, wanting to use His mercy, said to St. Bridget: Go and tell your Confessor to run to the bed of this dying man; exhort him to confess! The priest went three times and could not convert him. Finally, he revealed the secret: I did not come to you spontaneously; Jesus himself sent me in behalf of a holy nun and wants to grant you His forgiveness. Please resist no longer the grace of God!
The sick man, hearing these words, softened and broke into tears; then he exclaimed: How can I be forgiven after serving the devil for seventy years? My sins are very serious and innumerable! The priest reassured him, disposed him to Confession, absolved him and gave him Viaticum. After six days that rich man died.
Jesus, appearing to St. Bridget, spoke to her: That sinner is saved; at present he is in Purgatory. He had the grace of conversion through the intercession of my Virgin Mother, because, although he lived in vices, he still retained the devotion to the sorrows of the Virgin Mother; when he remembered the sufferings of the Sorrowful Mother Mary, he identified himself with it and had compassion with Mary.
A Little Spiritual Flower Offering to our Lady:
– Make seven small sacrifices to honor the seven sorrows of Our Lady.
Prayer to Mary:
– Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Adapted and Translated from:
MARIA REGINA E MADRE DI MISERICORDIA (Mese di Maggio) – by DON GIUSEPPE TOMASELLI