Thursday, September 15, 2011

Seven Sorrows of Mary for LIfe

Since today (September 15) is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, for my Seven Quick Takes this week I want to share something I've been working on for a while now. Last spring after meeting Immaculee' Ilibagiza and reading her book, Our Lady of Kibeho, I started praying the Our Lady of Sorrows Rosary. (Mind you, I don't pray this on a regular basis like I should--Our Lady recommends every Tuesday in addition to the daily Rosary which I don't always say either--but it is a devotion I turn to every so often. Actually, I think it was when my cousin Greg died that I first started exploring the Seven Sorrows of Mary devotion as a way to pray for my Aunt A. who had lost her only son.)

Then last spring during 40 Days for Life I went over to Priests for Life's website to see if there was a pro-life meditation on the Seven Sorrows of Mary. When my friends and I pray in front of the abortion clinic in Richmond, we pray using Father Frank's pro-life mysteries; and I've seen his Stations of the Cross for life as well. I wanted some pro-life reflections on the Seven Sorrows of Mary; and when I couldn't find any of those, I decided to write some. How hard could it be?

Harder than you think. It took forever. I'll probably tweak them a few times. (And I was hoping to get them out in time for the Seven Sorrows Novena, which ended today. Or maybe yesterday, I'm not quite sure.)


(To pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary, start with the Act of Contrition, and after announcing each sorrow, pray the Our Father and seven Hail Marys.)

First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon

Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and blessed him. He told Mary that a sword would pierce her heart because of the sufferings of this child, and Mary was deeply troubled by this.

Mothers are often told that their unborn children will cause much suffering for them. They are told that their babies should die because they will be forced to quit school, because they will cause shame in their families, because the child will be poor, because the father is a criminal, because the child has an abnormality.

Pray that mothers facing pregnancy and difficult circumstances will be given the grace and courage to choose life for their babies. A sword may one day pierce her heart, but abortion forever pierces the hearts of both the mother and the baby.

Our Father... Hail Mary... (7x)

Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt

Mary was sorrowful when Joseph woke her and the child Jesus and immediately took them to Egypt. Herod had learned of the child and wanted him killed. Mary had to leave her home and the people she loved so that her child would be safe.

Many mothers are faced with difficult circumstances, and the pressure to abort is great. Pray that there will always be a place for a mother to go for help when she needs it. Pray for pregnancy resource centers, that they will have the support they need to help women bring their babies into the world. Pray for the establishment of new centers, and the expansion of existing ones. An unplanned pregnancy can be frightening; let us pray that help will always be available.

Our Father... Hail Mary... (7x)

Third Sorrow: The Loss of Jesus in the Temple

When Mary discovered that Jesus was left behind in Jerusalem, her heart was filled with worry. She and Joseph searched for three days, and with each passing hour they were more and more anxious. Mary could not bear to be separated from her Son.

Mary's separation from Jesus was temporary. Abortion forever separates a mother from her child. Pray that women who have had abortions will find peace and forgiveness and healing. They are permanently scarred from the choice they have made. They will never hold their children or see them grow up. May God give them peace, and the courage to help other women avoid this great sorrow and choose life.

Our Father... Hail Mary... (7x)

Fourth Sorrow: Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary

Mary followed Jesus on the Way of the Cross, as He was forced to carry the heavy Cross to his death on Calvary. She wished that she could carry it for him, but with sorrow she knew that this was God's plan. As Jesus struggled to bear the Cross--after he had already been scourged almost to the point of death--Mary sorrowfully walked by his side to comfort Him.

The cross of an unplanned pregnancy can be a tremendous burden to bear, and there can be an overwhelming temptation to abort. Pray that Mary, through the love encouragement of others, will walk beside women who are struggling with this choice, and comfort them during their difficult time. Mary knew that Jesus' suffering and death would lead to eternal life for mankind. Pray that these frightened mothers will, despite the struggles they face, choose life for their babies, and that pro-life people will give them the support and encouragement that they need.

Our Father... Hail Mary... (7x)

Fifth sorrow: Mary Stands at the Foot of the Cross

Mary couldn't bear to see her precious Son suffering on the Cross. She stayed with him as the soldiers drove nails into His hands and feet and hung Him up to die. She stayed with him through the many hours of His unspeakable suffering as He hung on the cross, and as the life slowly left His body. She knew that this ordeal would end in His death, yet she stood beside Him and never left His side.

Sometimes a mother is told that her unborn baby is sick, or deformed, or abnormal, and that if her child is allowed to be born, he will only suffer and die. These sorrowful mothers face great pressure and temptation to end the life of their babies, because they are told that doing so will avoid "unnecessary" suffering for their children. They know that when their babies are born, they will be faced with hardship and suffering; pray that they will be encouraged to stay by the side of their children, and carry their babies to term, even if their suffering or death seems likely. As Jesus hung on the cross in agony, he felt the presence of His grieving Mother beside him, and was strengthened by Her love. May the babies who are faced with suffering be comforted and strengthened by their own mothers' love, even if their lives are made difficult, or even shortened, by illness or abnormality.

Our Father... Hail Mary... (7x)

Sixth Sorrow: Mary Receives the Dead Body of Jesus

Our Lady was overcome with grief as the broken, mangled body of her Son was placed in her arms. She wept as she looked at his bloody face, his pierced hands and feet, and the deep scourge marks on his body.

Abortion tells women that their babies are just blobs of tissue; that they have no arms or legs or head or heart. The mothers do not see their children's severed limbs, their bloody faces, their crushed heads and mutilated bodies. Pray that through the work of pro-lifers, the world will recognize the dignity and humanity of the tiniest of human beings, and that all mothers will, by choosing life, joyfully receive their newly born babies into their arms.

Our Father... Hail Mary... (7x)

Seventh Sorrow: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

With a heavy heart, Mary wrapped her dead Son in burial cloths and laid Him in the tomb.

In this Culture of Death, aborted children are labeled "medical waste" and thrown away. A mother's womb, which is made by God to be a place of warmth and protection and peace, becomes a chamber of death. We know that Jesus rose again after three days, and His tomb was transformed from a dark place of death to a gateway to eternal life. Pray that abortion will one day be abolished, and a mother's womb will always be a place where babies can grow and develop and be given life.

Our Father... Hail Mary... (7x)

It seems there are several options for concluding prayers; some like to say three more Hail Marys and/or the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. The one from Immaculee's pamphlet on the Seven Sorrows goes like this:

Queen of Martyrs, your heart suffered so much . I beg you by the merits of the tears you shed, in these terrible and sorrowful times, obtain for me and all the sinners of the world, the grace of complete sincerity and repentance. Amen.

Mary, who was conceived without sin and suffered for us, pray for us. (3x)

Father Frank Pavone inspired these meditations. These last couple of days, I've been reading about how his bishop, Most Reverend Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, decided to order Father Frank to stop his full-time prolife work and return to the Diocese of Amarillo. Bishop Zurek apparently has some concerns about the finances of Priests for Life, but doesn't accuse Father Pavone of any wrongdoing. It seems very strange; you can read Father Pavone's official statement about it here.

Father Pavone is a hero for all life. Please keep him and Priests for Life in your prayers!

And for more Quick Takes, check out Jen's Conversion Diary blog.

Have a blessed weekend!


  1. Wonderful reflections Sharon. I hve learnt a lit this week about the seven sorrows.

  2. Thanks, Therese! Hope all is well with you down under! :)

  3. Dear Sharon,

    Thank you so much for these beautiful meditations. I love the rosary to Our Lady Of Sorrows and am trying to pray it each day. I have done some praying at a local abortion clinic and I felt a strong need and desire to write some pro life meditations for each of the seven sorrows. I am in the process of writing some of my own reflections on the sorrows of our Lady. Yours are beautiful! God bless you!


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