Mater Dolorosa — Weep ’til Death and Weep with Thee
“O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow. (Lamentations 1:12)
A dutiful child is never unmindful of the sorrows of his mother. Her sighs and labors are ever deeply imprinted on his memory, and he is bent on fulfilling that sacred command of Heaven which venerable Tobias gave to his faithful son: — ” Thou must- be mindful what and how great were the perils which thy mother suffered for thee;” and which Ecclesiasticus, inspired by the Holy Ghost, gives to all mankind, in these words: “Forget not the groanings of thy mother.”
As Christians, we are all children of Mary. She became our Mother amidst unutterable anguish and pain. She was solemnly declared our Mother when standing at the foot of the Cross, whilst the blood flowed in streams from the wounds of her dying Jesus.
For our loving Redeemer, being about to leave this world, and pitying our orphan state, addressed every Christian, in the person of St. John, his beloved disciple — ” Behold thy Mother : ” then, turning his bleeding head towards the Blessed Virgin, He said, as the same Evangelist testifies — “Woman behold thy Son.” We, therefore, are the children of Mary: Jesus has declared us such.
“As Christ has begotten us,” says St. Antonius,” to a spiritual life, in the word of truth, by suffering on the cross, so, likewise, Mary has begotten us, and brought us forth in the midst of most acute pains, by sharing in the sufferings of the crucifixion of her Son.” Ah, then, never let us forget her sighs and groans —her bitter pains and sorrows. Deeply should we fix them in our memory, and day after day call them to mind.
“Forget not the groanings of thy Mother, and be mindful what and how great were the perils which she suffered for thee.” Meditate often on the sorrows of Mary and you will imitate her virtues, share in her merits, and obtain her special protection.
But that you may be still more encouraged to think of the Seven Dolours, be reminded of some other advantages which you will gain from this most beautiful and consoling devotion.
It was revealed to St. Elizabeth, a Benedictine nun, that our Lord will bestow four graces on those who are devout to the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. First, that whoever invokes her by her Dolours, shall obtain the grace of true repentance. Secondly, that she will console such in all their tribulations, and especially at the hour of death. Thirdly, that the Lord will imprint on their minds a remembrance of his Passion, and inspire them with great devotion to it. Lastly, that He has empowered Mary to obtain for them whatever blessings she pleases.
Of this we are certain, that in proportion as we, the servants of Mary, compassionate her sufferings and meditate on her great sorrows, while thus our love for her grows daily “more and more,” so also will our love for Jesus crucified still more continually increase.
Private devotions will multiply, public offices will be more regularly and more devoutly attended, and, as we confidently believe, Mary will show us a grateful love, and, with her own most marvelous blessing, will bless those who, by compassionating her Sorrows, show themselves the most truly to be her children, and give the sweetest consolation to her afflicted heart.
Prophecy of Simeon
“Tuam ipsius animam pertransibit gladius.” “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce.” —St. Luke ii.
The Flight into Egypt
“Surge, et accipe Puerum, et matrem Ejus; et fuge in Aegyptum.” “Arise, and take the Child and His mother, and fly into Egypt.” —St. Matt. ii.
The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
“Fili, quid fecisti nobis sic? Ecce pater Tuus et ego dolentes qucerebamus Te.” “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold, Thy Father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.”— St. Luke ii.
The Meeting with Our Lord on Calvary
“Sequebatur autem Ilium multa turba populi, et mulierum quae plangebant et lamentabantur eum.”
“And there followed Him a great multitude of people and of women who bewailed and lamented Him.”—St. Luke xxiii. .
“Ibi crucifixerunt Eum.” …” Stabat autem juxta Crucem Jesu Mater Ejus.” . . . “Where they crucified Him.”…” Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother.”— St. John xix,, 18, 25
Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
“Et accepto Corpore, Joseph involvit Illud in sindone munda” …” And Joseph, taking the Body, wrapt it up in a clean linen cloth.”—St. Matt, xxvii.
Jesus is Laid in the Sepulchre
“Involvit sindone el posuit Eum in monumento.” ...” And Joseph wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid Him in a sepulchre.” —St. Mark xv.
“Manual of Devotions in Honour of the Seven Dolours of the Virgin Mary”