Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget IX

Jesus is Laid in the Arms of His Mother
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books, available for purchase here.)
After the death of Our Lord and after His side was opened by a lance, Jesus was taken down from the cross - the cross He used to save us from our own sin, and laid in the arms of His Holy Mother. Imagine if you will what it must have been to receive back what had been so harshly torn away, for Mary who held the infant Jesus so tenderly in her arms, now again recieves her son, holds him close, pressing Him to her chest. Crouch before your Heavenly Mother and join in her sorrow, sorry for your transgressions which have caused her Son's death - by reading her very words, spoken to St. Bridget of Sweden some 900 years ago:
The Blessed Virgin Mary speaks: "..think how He was taken down from the cross. The two men who took Him down from the cross set up three ladders-one reaching His feet, another to His armpits and arms, the third to the middle of the body. The first ascended and held Him by the body; the second, mounting another ladder, drew out first one of the nails from one hand, then, changing the ladder, he took out the nail from the other...then, he who bore the weight of the body descending gradually and moderately as he could, the other got up the ladder reaching to the feet, and drew the nails from the feet. And when he approached the ground, one of them held the body by the head, and the other by the feet, but I being His Mother, held Him by the middle. And so we three bore Him to a rock which I had covered with a clean linen sheet, in which we wrapped the body, but I did not sew the winding-sheet. For I knew for certain that He would not decay in the tomb."
St. Bridget speaks of this scene witnessed in vision: "...when the crowd departed, His friends took down Our Lord, whom His pious Mother received in her holy arms, and inclined Him, sitting on her knee, all wounded, torn and livid; and then His dolorous Mother wiped His whole body and wounds with her veil, and closed His eyes, kissing them, and wrapped Him in a clean winding-sheet, and thus they bore Him, with great wailing and grief, and laid Him in the sepulcher."
We all must often approach Our Mother in prayer to honor her great sorrow. She will repay our veneration with nothing less than our very salvation - which is the very Will of God. Go to your Sorrowful Mother with your own wounds and troubles, ask her to press you close and clean you with her veil as she did Our Lord. Mary is the quickest, surest and safest route to Jesus!
Ah, true Mother, most loving Mother, Whom not even the fear of death could separate from Thy beloved Son. But, O God, what a spectacle of sorrow must have confronted those who could see Jesus hanging in agony on the cross, and His Mother there at the foot of the cross suffering all His torments with Him. All these sufferings of Jesus were also Mary's sufferings. Amen+
~ Saint Jerome

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget VIII

The Piercing Of the Side of Jesus
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books, available for purchase here)
Directly following Our Lord's death, in the midst of incomparable sorrow, our Sorrowful Mother witnessed her Son run through by a Roman soldier. She relates the following to the mystic St. Bridget of Sweden:
The Blessed Virgin Mary speaks: "Someone said to me 'He is dead, but He will rise again.' Another said 'O lady, now the penalty of thy Son is paid to eternal glory.' While all were thus speaking, one came up and drove his lance so stoutly into His side that it almost came out on the other; and when he drew out the lance, its point was all ruddy with blood. Then it seemed to me as if my heart was pierced, when I beheld the heart of my beloved Son pierced through...this wound penetrated my heart, and it is [a wonder] that it did not burst. Others departed, but I could not."
Separately, St. Bridget relates this scene from her perspective as she was given to witness it through a vision by Divine Grace. Immediately following the death of Our Lord, briefly:
St. Bridget Speaks: "...He gave up the Ghost. Then His Mother, seeing this, trembled all over and would have fallen to the ground in her bitter anguish, had she not been supported by the other women...finally, all the Jews standing around, mockingly cried against His Mother, saying many things; for some said: "Mary, thy Son is dead." Others spoke other jeering words, and thus, while the crowd stood around, one running up with great fury plunged a lance into His right side so powerfully that the lance seems about to come forth in the opposite side of the body, and when it was drawn out, a very river of blood gushed impetuously from that wound; but the lance-head and part of the handle came forth blood-stained. His Mother, seeing this, trembled so violently and with bitter groans that her countenance and manner showed that her soul was then pierced with a keen sword of grief."
On account of who was Our Lord nailed to the cross? Who did thrust the lance? Who caused such misery in the sinless and immaculate soul of the Mother of God? Think - who is guilty of this unspeakable crime?
You and I are the guilty ones!
We pound the nails, we cast the lance. Our sins wrought this suffering. We must pray and strive for purity in all we do. Pray for the grace of holiness. Console the sorrowful heart of Your Mother and she will work out the details of your conversion and salvation.
Prayer of St. Bridget
O Jesus, sweetness of hearts and great sweetness of minds,
by the bitterness of the vinegar and gall which Thou
didst taste for us, grant me at the hour of my death
worthily to receive Thy Body and Blood,
for the remedy and consolation of my soul.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget VII

Death of Jesus
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget, by TAN Books, available for purchase here)
The Blessed Virgin Mary's discussion with St. Bridget of Sweden continues as she relates to her, for our edification, her Holy Son's Passion. We have covered Our Lady's witness of Jesus' torture and now we sadly move on to His death. This revelation picks up just following Our Lords utterance of the words "Father, why has Thou foraken me?" (due to the length of this account, I have abbreviated it, noted with the ...)
The Blessed Virgin Mary speaks: "Then His eyes appeared half dead, His cheeks hollow, and His countenance mournful, His mouth open and His tongue bloodstained, His body collapsed as though He had nothing within, the humors being all drained, and His whole body pale and languid from the loss and flow of blood. His hand and feet were stretched out most rigidly, drawn and shaped to the form of the cross, His beard and hair all clotted with blood. Now when my Son was thus torn and livid, His heart alone was struggled with death in His pierced body. For sometimes the pain mounted from His pierced limbs and nerves to His heart...and thus tortured Him with incredible pain and suffering...and thus prolonged death with bitterness....then in His great anguish of body, He cried in His humanity to His Father: 'Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.' When I, His most afflicted Mother, heard these words, all my limbs trenbled in my bitter grief of heart. And as often as I thought of this word, it was present and fresh in my ears. And as death came on, when His heart was breaking from excessive pain, then all His members quivered, and His head, rising slightly, inclined. His mouth was seen to open, disclosing His tongue all covered with blood. His hands shrunk a little from the holes of the nails, and the feet bore more of the weight of the body. His fingers and arms extended in a manner, and His back was pressed back on the cross. Then some said to me: 'Mary, thy Son is dead.' "
Mary invites us once again to the foot of Her Son's Cross. It was by this Cross that God made Man reconciled us to Himself - through this Cross we are saved. It is through suffering that love is proved, tested and purified. God made Abraham the Father of a nation only after being proven and purified "like gold in a furnace" But the Lord does not purify us through pain without granting us the graces to withstand it - it is only for us to cooperate with His grace. Think often on the sacrifice of Jesus and Mary. Remember this at Mass, go to confession often, have masses said for the dead so you do not appear at your particular judgement with emtpy hands.
Beloved Mother who suffered in heart beyond bearing because of us, teach us to suffer with you. As God wants, imitating you, we suffer and may our suffering be known to God only, like yours and that of Jesus. You dedicate it to God. You, who suffered with the Savior of the world, you are a Mother greater than all.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget VI

Mary's Way of the Cross Continues
According to St. Bridget of Sweden
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books
available for purchase here.)
We continue now to witness with Mary her Divine Son's Passion through the visions of St. Bridget. Our Saviour has been condemned then scourged, beaten & humiliated - all within view of His Mother. Mary continues relating to the mystic how she and her Son experienced Good Friday.
The Blessed Virgin Mary speaks: ...His cruel executioners seized Him, and stretched Him on the cross. First they fixed His right hand to the beam, which was pierced for nails, and they transfixed His hand in the part where the bone was firmest. Then drawing His other hand with a rope, they affixed it in like manner to the cross. Then they crucified His right foot, and over it the left, with two nails, so that all the nerves and veins were extended and broken. This done, they fitted a crown of thorns to His head, which so acutely wounded the venerable head of my Son that His eyes were filled, His ears stopped up, with the blood that streamed down, and His whole beard matted with the gore. And as He stood thus pierced and bloody, condoling with me as I stood mourning, He looked with blood stained eyes to John, my kinsman, and commended me to him. At that time I heard some saying that my Son was a robber, others that He was a liar, others that none better deserved death than my Son, and these words renewed my grief. But, as has been said, when the first nail was driven into Him, horrified at the first blow, I fell as though dead, my eyes darkened, my hands trembling, my feet quivering, nor for bitterness could I look again before He was nailed fast. On rising I beheld my Son hanging miserably, and I His most wretched mother, filled with terror on all sides, could scarcely stand for grief. But my Son, seeing me and His friends weeping disconsolately, in a loud and tearful voice cried out to His Father, saying: 'Father, why hast thou forsaken Me?'"
Take some today to listen to your Mother's voice as she calls you to join her at the foot of her Son's cross. Go there with all your woes, cares, worries and sorrows. Offer them to the Heavenly Father, in union with Jesus' suffering on the cross - for to do this is to pattern your offering upon Mary's. That is what she did at the foot of her Son's cross, offered her pain, in union with Jesus' to the Father for the salvation of the whole world. Pray for the conversion of poor sinners, for the Church, for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Ask Mary to offer your tears with hers and in return you can expect endless gifts of mercy!
O Mary, Mother of Sorrows, I beseech Thee, by the bitter agony thou didst endure at the foot of the Cross offer to the Eternal Father, in my name, thy Beloved Son, Jesus, all covered with Blood and Wounds, in satisfaction for my sins, for the needs of Holy Church, the conversion of sinners, the relief of the Souls in Purgatory and for the special grace I now implore.
(Here mention your request.)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget V

Mary Walks the Way of the Cross With Her Son
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books available here.)
Picking up where we left off in the last post, Mary revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden in a vision how she witnessed the scourging at the pillar then accompanied Him during his Passion, making the first Way of the Cross. Take a moment now and walk beside your Mother as she follows Jesus' bloody footprints and imagine her heart pierced anew watching her Son undergo His Passion.
The Blessed Virgin Mary Speaks: "Now, as my Son was led away like a robber, He wiped away the blood from His eyes. And when He was condemned, they gave Him His cross to bear. When He had carried it a short way, one came up and assumed it. Meanwhile, as my Son was going to the place of His Passion, some smote Him on the back, others struck Him in the face. And so violently and rudely was He struck that though I did not see the person striking, I distinctly heard the sound of the blow. And when I came with Him to the place of the Passion, I there beheld all the instruments prepared for His death. And my Son Himself, coming thither, divested Himself of His clothes, the attendants saying to each other: 'These vestments are ours, nor can He have them again, that is condemned to death.' Now, while my Son stood as naked as when He was born, one, running up, handed Him a cloth with which, exulting inwardly, he covered Him. Then His cruel executioners seized Him, and stretched Him on the cross."
Ask yourself - just why did Jesus, with Mary beside Him undergo such a suffering? Jesus as the Lamb of God offered up himself as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of the world, from the first sin of Adam unto the last sin committed prior to His return. Mary, for her part, suffered immensely in her heart and soul - her Son was crucified in body, Mary was crucified in soul - for our sins. They underwent this terrible trial for you and me. Let us think and remember this often and try very hard to appreciate thier sacrifice made on our behalf, and be most grateful.
Beloved Mother, stricken with grief, teach us to accept all our sufferings, so that we may relieve your sorrowful heart and that of Jesus. In doing so, may we give glory to God who gave you and Jesus to us. As you suffered, teach us to suffer silently and patiently. Grant unto us the grace of loving God in everything. O Mother of Sorrows, O Mother most afflicted of all mothers, have mercy on the sinners of the whole world.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget IV

Scourging at the Pillar
(Source: The Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books available here.)
Our Lord's scourging is a subject not normally associated with the Sorrows of Mary, but through a vision to St. Bridget of Sweden, Our Lady revealed how she witnessed her Son's Passion. The focus seems to be on her Son's experience rather than on her own suffering, which is to be expected. This is much in line with the theology of "to Jesus through Mary" for as we venerate the Blessed Virgin and compassionate her sorrows she brings us to be disciples of her Son. As we think on her and her sufferings, she points us to her Son and leads us on the Way of the Cross.
The Blessed Virgin Speaks: "When the time of my Son's Passion arrived, His enemies seized Him, striking Him on His cheek and neck; and spitting upon Him, they mocked Him. Then, led to the pillar, He stripped Himself, and Himself stretched out His hands to the pillar, which His enemies, pitiless, bound. Now, while tied there He had no clothing, but stood as He was born, and suffered the shame of His nakedness. Then His enemies rose up, for they stood on all sides, His friends having fled, and they scourged His body, pure from all spot or sin. At the first blow, I, who stood nearest, fell as if dead, and on recovering my senses I beheld His body bruised and beaten to the very ribs, so that His ribs could be seen; and what was still more bitter, when the scourge was raised, His very flesh was furrowed by the thongs. And when my Son stood thus, all bloody, all torn, so that no soundness could be found in Him nor spot to sourge, then one, his spirit roused within Him, asked: 'Will you slay Him thus unjudged?' and he immediately cut His bonds. Then my Son put on His clothes, and I beheld the spot where my Son's feet stood all full of blood, and I knew my Son's course by His footprints, for wherever He went, the earth seemed stained with blood...."
And so Our Sorrowful Mother followed her Divine Son's bloody footsteps on this the first Way of the Cross. See how her heart breaks with each painful movement, her heart and will united to His and accepting His will, yet this does not one bit lessen the pain. Think on your Mother's sorrow, what she has borne and continues to bear for you. Continue not to pierce her heart anew with your sin and lack of compassion. Take a moment to meditate on your Mother's sorrow and pray for an increase in virtue for you and your benefactors.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget III

Flight Into Egypt
Visions of St. Bridget of Sweden
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books)
Our Lady's second sorrow, the fight into Egypt was discussed personally by Our Lord in a conversation He had with St. Bridget. We are reminded by these words of what happened directly after the infant Jesus was taken by Mary and Joseph into exile - the slaughter of the innocents. We learn more of the import of this tragic happening and of what good the Lord in His mercy wrought through such an unspeakable act of evil.
A few words regarding private revelation: These writings bear the Church's Imprimatur and have been widely disseminated and promulgated by Holy Mother Church. It is not wise nor prudent to reject such things as personal revelation that we are not required to believe in. Although there is no requirement - we must not despise such things either, but rather approach with prayerful discernment.
Jesus speaks: "By My flight into Egypt, I showed the infirmities of My humanity, and fulfilled the prophecies; I gave, too, an example to My disciples, that sometimes persecution is to be avoided for the greater future glory of God. That I was not found by My pursuers, the counsel of My Deity prevailed over man's counsel, for it is not easy to fight against God. That the innocents were slain was a sign of My future Passion, a mystery of those to be called, and of divine charity; for though the innocents did not bear testimony unto Me by voice and mouth, yet they did by their death, as agreed with My childhood; because it was foreseen that even in the blood of innocents, praise should be perfected to God. For though the malice of the unjust unjustly afflicted them, yet My divine permission, ever just and benignant, exposed them only justly, to show the malice of men and the incomprehensible counsel and piety of My divinity. Therefore, when unjust malice wreaked itself on the children, there justly superabounded merit and grace; and where the confession of the tongue and age were wanting, there the blood shed accumulated the most perfect good."
O Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come unto You.
O Lord Jesus Christ,
once You embraced and placed Your hands upon the little children
who came to You, and said: "Suffer the little children to come unto Me,
and forbid them not, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,
and their angels always see the face of my Father!"
Look now with fatherly eyes on the innocence of children and their
parents' devotion, and bless them this day through your mercy.
In Your grace and goodness let them advance continually,
longing for You, loving You, fearing You, keeping Your commandments.
Then they will surely come to their destined home,
through You, Savior of the world.
Who lives and reigns forever and ever.
(Taken from the Church's official blessing of children of the Feast of the Holy Innocents, included in the Roman Ritual.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Visions of St. Bridget II

Prophesy of Simon
According to St. Bridget of Sweden
(Source: Revelations of St Bridget by TAN Books)
St. Bridget was visited personally by the Blessed Virgin Mary who related the following to her regarding her ritual purification, the Presentation and Mary's first sorrow - the prophesy of Simeon.
"I did not need purification, like other women, because my Son who was born of me made me clean. Nor did I contract the least stain, who bore my most pure Son without any stain. Nevertheless, that the law and the prophecies might be fulfilled, I chose to live according to the law. Nor did I live like worldly parents, but humbly conversed with the humble. Nor did I wish to show anything extraordinary in me, but loved whatever was humble. On that day as today was my pain increased. For though, by divine inspiration, I knew that my Son was to suffer, yet this grief pierced my heart more keenly at Simeon's words, when he said that a sword should pierce my soul, and that my Son should be set for a sign to be contradicted. And until I was assumed in body and soul into Heaven, this grief never left my heart, although it was tempered by the consolation of the spirit of God. I also wish you to know that from that day my grief was sixfold."
We - in our small minds, tainted with concupiscience and sin cannot even begin to comprehend what suffering Our Mother underwent, who was without sin. In the pure vessel of her Immaculate Heart, she who was "full of grace" suffered greatly in her earthly exile. To be called "Full of Grace" by God logically means there was nothing but grace within her. She as God's greatest creation was closest to God, so therefore she would be granted the greatest share in His suffering. She would then go on to recieve as her reward the greatest share in His glory in Heaven. Let us turn with confidence to Our Sorrowful Mother and ask for many graces. Let us compassionate her sorrows that she may look down from Heaven with pity on us and bring us safely to her Divine Son!
O God, in Whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon,
the dear soul of Mary, Thy glorious Virgin-Mother,
was transfixed by a sword of sorrow;
mercifully grant that we, reverently remembering her woes,
may secure the happy effects of Thy Passion.
Who livest and reignest with Thee
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
world without end.
(Source: My Daily Prayer, Confraternity of the Precious Blood Brooklyn, NY)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mary's Sorrows - Visions of St Bridget I

Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden
(1303 - 1373)
(Source: Revelations of St. Bridget by TAN Books)
St. Bridget of Sweden, also known by the name St. Birgitta, was born in June of 1303 in Finsta, Uppland Sweden. She was the fifth child of Birger Persson and Ingeborg Bengsdottir, both parents having the repuation of a devout and holy life.
St. Bridget's birth was accompanied by prophetic signs. Ingeborg barely escaped drowning just prior to her birth and after this, an angel appeared to her, informing her that she was saved because of her unborn child. "Bring her up in the love of God, for she is His gift to you."
St. Bridget was wise beyond her years from her earliest youth. She recieved her first divine vision at the age of seven: a beautiful lady offered her a crown, when she accepted it, it was put upon her head and could be felt by her physical body. At the age of ten she was graced with a vision of Christ Crucified with blood streaming from his holy wounds.
St. Bridget's mother died when she was but 11. At the age of 13 she entered into a marriage arranged by her father to an 18 year old man named Ulf who is described as "rich, noble and wise." Bridget had long since given her heart to her Lord, but married in sorrow to fulfill her father's will for her, which she took to be the will of God himself. God blessed this couple with eight children, one of which was destined to become a saint as well - St. Katherine of Sweden, also known as St. Karin.
St. Bridget was widowed in the year 1343 after which time this holy servant of God entered into a life of penance with much fasting, vigils and asceticism. Her mystical visions became frequent and the Lord revealed to her that she was to become His bride and to perform the task of informing the world of His warnings and messages. She founded the Bridgettine order which gives special honor to Our Lady.
The next several postings here will focus on St. Bridget's mystical visions and the messages relayed to her directly from Our Lord and His Holy Mother, focusing specifically on Mary's sorrows and the Passion. I encourage all to purchase a copy of the book containing this writings of St. Bridget, it is very inexpensive and contains a treasure of spiritual material, available here.
St. Bridget moved to Rome at Our Lord's request in the year 1350. She was a contemporary of St. Catherine of Siena and with her was instrumental in the return of the Holy See to its rightful place in Rome from Avignon France. She died after 20 years of charitible work and miracles in Rome. She was canonized on July 23, 1391 and was declared the Patron Saint of Sweden in 1396. Pope John Paul II also made her co-patroness of Europe during his reign as the Holy Father.
Prayer of St. Bridget
We pray thee, O most clement Virgin Mary,
Queen of the world and of angels, to obtain relief
for those whom the fire of Purgatory tries,
pardon for sinners, perserverance in good for the just,
and also defend us weak brethren from menacing danger.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord who lives and reigns with The Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Graces Obtained

Father Frederick William Faber


Father Faber was born in Yorkshire, England in 1814. He was converted from the Anglican ministry to Catholicism in 1845. Ordained a priest in 1847, he joined the Oratorians in 1848 under John Henry Cardinal Newman. In addition to numerous fine hymns, Fr. Faber authored nine books. Fr. Faber died in London in 1863. He is considered a master of the theology of the spiritual life. (Souce: read more here)

Some of his most renown writings are on purgatory - he also had a lively devotion to Our Lady's Sorrows and wrote on that subject as well. Thus his writings are highly regarded and shall be talked about quite a bit on this blog!

As stated in earlier posts, devotion to the Sorrows of Mary have many promises or graces which will come to the soul who practices such. Father Faber in his writing enumerates other graces which are commonly obtained through devotion to Mary's Sorrows:

  • "This devotion has a remarkable connection with great inner holiness."
  • This devotion "reveals the emptiness of worldly joys. Worldliness finds no soul harder to attack than one entrenched in the sorrows of our Blessed Lady. The world can graft itself upon nothing in this devotion."
  • It give us "a permanent share in the sorrow for sin which Jesus and Mary felt."
  • Our thoughts are kept close to Jesus Christ, and to Him Crucified.
  • To our souls is communicated the "spirit of the Cross, and gives us strength to edure our own sufferings with resignation to the holy Will of God."
  • "This devotion is wholly covered with the Precious Blood of Jesus and leads us directly into the depths of the Heart of our Saviour."
  • "Anyone who during his lifetime has cherished compassion for thier afllicted Mother may consider this as a most assured sign of predistination."

(Source Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother by TAN Books)


Beloved Mother who greatly suffered, give us a courageous heart like yours.

We accept all the sufferings as God so wishes, our own and that inflicted by others.

You alone purify our suffering so that we may give glory to God and save our souls.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Precious Offering

Prayer of St. John Vianney
(1786 - 1859)
Patron Saint of parish priests & confessors
(For more information go here)
St. John Vianney was a great priest, mystic and miracle worker. Among all his spiritual greatness, he also had a great devotion to Our Lady and her many sorrows. He has left for us many writings and many of his holy sermons are preserved and available for purchase here. I encourage everyone to learn more about this great saint and pray often to him for help and guidance in attaining holiness.
St. John Vianney as a pious custom when asking for special graces would offer to God the Father, by the hands of Mary, our Lord Jesus Christ all covered with Blood and Wounds. He stated this was an infallible method of obtaining great graces. The following prayer to Our Sorrowful Mother may be used:
O Mary, Mother of Sorrows, I beseech thee,
by the inexpressible tortures thou didst endure at the
death of thy Son,
offer to the Eternal Father, in my stead
thy beloved Son all covered with Blood and Wounds,
for the grace of...
(here mention your request)
(Source Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother by TAN Books)
St. John Vianney ~ Pray for us!
Mary, Mother Most Sorrowful ~ Pray for us!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Lady's Seventh Sorrow

Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
"To what can I liken or compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What example can I show you for your comfort, O Virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is your downfall."
(From the Divine Office of the Feast of the Seven Sorrows).
The Sabbath rest quickly approaches, they must take Our Lord's body from the arms of His Most Holy Mother and place it in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. A pious tradition is held that Mary herself arranges the folds of the winding sheet with her own hands. Joseph closes the tomb with a rock and the mourners leave.
"Depart from me, I will weep bitterly; labor not to comfort me. There is in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, nor appearance that would attract us to Him. From the sole of the foot to the head, there is no sound spot in Him."
How great must have been Mary's sorrow! Yet this heavy sorrow could not overcome her faith in Jesus, her God and her Son, nor her hope in His promise of return. Sweet Mother, entomb Jesus in the sepulchre of my heart. Seal it with thy love, that I may not betray Him, but with Him and through Him may attain live everlasting.

"God of mercy, let us run
Where yon fount of sorrow flows;
Pondering sweetly, one by one
Jesus 's wounds and Mary's woes.
Ah, those tears Our Lady shed,
Enough to drown a world of sin;
Tears that Jesus 's sorrows fed..."
(Hymn from Lauds of the Feast of the Sorrows of Mary-excerpt)
I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful,
for the pangs that wrenched thy most loving heart
at the burial of Jesus.
Dear Mother, by thy heart sunk in the
bitterness of desolation, obtain for me
the virtue of diligence and the
gift of wisdom.
(Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother, TAN Books)
Hail Mary...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Recommended Articles

I strongly urge all to read these brief articles from two of my favorite websites and forward them to all you know. We must pray without ceasing...

1. Mark Mallett 2. Mark Mallett

3. Spirit Daily

May Mary's prayers go with you always!

Our Lady's Sixth Sorrow

Mary Receives the Dead Body of Jesus in Her Arms
"Joseph of Arimathaea requested the body of Jesus, which he took down from the cross. And His Mother received it into her arms. The sorrowing mother took her dead Son and laid Him on her knees"
~(From the Divine Office of the Feast of the Seven Sorrows).
It is time now to consider the sixth sorrow which pierced the heart of Our Blessed Lady. On this day, she will be wounded with another sword of sorrow. A cruel lance will pierce the side of her dead Son, then she will receive Him in her holy arms after He has been taken down from the cross.
Perhaps she will remember, pondering in her Immaculate Heart, the day she bore her Divine Son. She remembers placing him on her knees, how his tiny body warmed her hands in that damp cave. On cruel Calvary does she hold Jesus again in death. She loved him then, she loves him still. Only now His body is cold and covered with the the Blood of His sacrifice. Come and sit at the feet of your Holy Mother, compassionate the martyrdom of her soul as she tenderly presses the head of her dead Son to her chest.


It is sufficient to inform a mother that her son had died to arouse in her heart all her love for her dead child, but Mary witnesses everything. "One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water" (Jn. 19:34). "Christ," it is said, "shared this wound with His Mother. He received the hurt; His Mother endured the pain."

Stay on Calvary for a time with Mary as Jesus is taken down from the cross. Kneel before your afflicted Mother waiting with outstretched arms to take Her beloved Son. She embraces Him sitting at the foot of the cross, is there no one to count her tears? Her Son died for us, and we persist in adding to His torture and crucifixion by our sins. Let us resolve not to torment our Lord, nor His sorrowful Mother any longer. And if we have saddened them in the past by our sins, let us now do what She wants us to do - go and sin no more.
I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful,
in the wounding of thy compassionate heart,
when the side of Jesus, was pierced
before His body was removed from the Cross.
Dear Mother, by thy heart thus transfixed,
obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity
and the gift of understanding.
Hail Mary...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Our Lady's Fifth Sorrow

Jesus Dies on the Cross
Now there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother... (John 19:25)
St. John did not deem it necessary to elaborate with reference to the martyrdom of Mary. See her now at the foot of the cross gazing upon Her dying Son, and ask your soul if there ever was a sorrow like unto Her sorrow. Stay awhile on Calvary and consider the fifth sword which pierced the heart of Mary — the death of Jesus.

As soon as our Lord reached Calvary, the soldiers stripped off His clothes, and fixed His hands and feet with nails, fastening Him to the cross. They raised the cross and left Him to die. The executioners left Him, all the Apostles but John left Him, but Mary did not leave Him. She stood close to the cross to be near Him in death. "I did not leave Him," She revealed to St. Bridget, "but stood nearer the cross."

"Jesus, grant that I may die in pressing to my lips the cross that is bathed in Thy Blood!"
~ St Charles Borromeo
I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful,
in the martyrdom which thy generous heart
endured in standing near Jesus in His agony.
Dear Mother,
by thy afflicted heart, obtain for me
the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.
Hail Mary...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Our Lady's Fourth Sorrow

Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary
As Jesus makes his way to Calvary, condemned to crucifixion, He meets His mother, Mary. He is bruised, derided, cursed and defiled and her sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags His own cross up the hill of His crucifixion.
Mary, who was conceived and lived her entire earthly life without the slightest stain of sin - must have suffered immeasurably as she witnessed the slow death by torture of her Divine Son. He is God, truly God incarnate but is also the Son of Mary. Her heart nearly broken with sorrow, yet she remained by her Son till the last. She offered her suffering in union with her Son's to the Heavenly Father for the Salvation of the whole world. Jesus was and is the Lamb of God and carried His holy Cross for us, and Mary underwent crucifixion of her soul, silently and without complaint - completely conformed to the will of God for us! How unworthy we are of such a sacrafice! Let us compassionate our Mother's Sorrows!
I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation
of thy heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross.
Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled,
obtain for me the virtue of patience
and the gift of fortitude.
(Source: Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
by TAN Books available for purchase here.)
Hail Mary...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Our Lady's Third Sorrow

Our Lady's Third Sorrow
(Source Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
by TAN Books, available for purchase here.)
The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
"And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him." (Luke 2: 43-45)

Meditation: How dread was the grief of Mary, when she saw that she had lost her beloved Son! And as if to increase her sorrow, when she sought Him diligently among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, she could hear no tidings of Him. No hindrances stayed her, nor weariness, nor danger; but she forthwith returned to Jerusalem, and for three long days sought Him sorrowing. Great be your confusion, O my soul, who has so often lost your Jesus by your sins, and has given no heed to seek Him at once, a sign that you make very little or no account of the precious treasure of divine love.
I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties
which tried thy troubled heart at the loss of they dear Jesus.
Dear Mother, by thy heart so full of anguish,
obtain for me the virtue of chastity
and the gift of knowledge.
Hail Mary...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Holy Souls

Holy Souls in Purgatory
Great article by Michael Brown from his website Spirit Daily, deserves to be read and meditated on by all the Church. This article is short, and is adapted from his book "Afterlife", take time to read it here.
Two points deserve singling out, firstly: those who have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in this life recieve great help from her in Purgatory -
"The Blessed Mother is there to assist souls and those souls dedicated to her throughout their lives are specially visited as they are waiting their exit. When a mystic named Sister Paola di Santa Teresa was in ecstasy one day, she was taken to a purgatory where she saw the Virgin surrounded by a countless retinue of angels who were with her to free the souls. "
Secondly: Those who do not assist the Holy Souls in Purgatory may not in turn recieve assistance, according to the book "The Secrets of Purgatory" a private revelation available here.
"Those who have forgotten the holy souls are forgotten in their turn."
Our Lord has given the task to Holy Mother Church, the Church Militant the duty of helping pay the debts of our fellows in Purgatory. This devotion was not long ago practiced openly and encouraged greatly by our priests - we have as a religion fallen into sloth in our duty here. Pray often for the holy souls, help them and they will help you with thier prayers. I will post here regularly about this devotion and duty. May Mary's prayers follow you always.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Our Lady's Second Sorrow

Flight Into Egypt
(Sources: Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother by
TAN Books available for purchase here,)
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." Mt 2: 13-15.
To avoid the muderous intentions of King Herod, St. Joseph fled with his wife Mary, Our Lady, and his foster-Child, Our Lord, and lived as refugees in Egypt. Our Lord, Who was born poor, without any of the royal prerogatives due his kingly dignity, lived as a refugee. There was no lodging at the inn in Bethlehem for the Holy Family. But a home was found for them in Egypt, by the resourceful St. Joseph. Egypt the nation where the Hebrew people had languished for many generations in cruel slavery to the Egyptians before being led out by a prefigurement of Jesus; Moses, who parted waters of the Red Sea to their forty years' desert journey prior to entering into the Promised Land of Canaan. Our Lady was thus forced to make a temporary home for her Child and her husband as they fled for their lives.

The sorrow of not being able to return to Nazareth due to the homicidal plot King Herod had on her infant Son was excruciating for Our Lady. Let us not forget to meditate on the silent, selfless sacrifices made by St. Joseph as he quickly heeded St. Gabriel's warnings, fleeing his own place of business to guard the lives of his family! Joseph, as head of the household was given the task to defend and safeguard his chaste spouse and his foster-Child? Are we willing to be so completely detached from our desires and comforts that we can flee at a moment's notice from our own homes if this were necessary? Are we, in other words, willing to do what the Holy Family did? Do we truly understand that we have no permanent home here in this life and that we must seek out first the Kingdom of Heaven, of which Holy Mass is a foretaste?
I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of thy
most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt
and they sojourn there. Dear Mother, by thy heart so troubled,
obtain for me the virtue of generosity,
especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.
Hail Mary...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Our Lady's First Sorrow

The Prophecy of Simeon (Lk 2:25-35)
(First of Seven prayers offered in honor or Mary's Seven Sorrows - this devotion was approved by Pope Pius VII in 1815)
According to Jewish law, the firstborn son of every family must be presented to God in the Temple.
Joseph and Mary took the infant Jesus to the temple, according to the law of Moses for this presentation as well as for her own purification (by bathing) according to the law, even though she was immaculate and never became unclean, nevertheless the law was fulfilled by her. While in the temple, Simeon approached the Holy Family. He beheld the infant and knew, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that this was truly the Messiah, the fulfillment of God's covenant with His people. And he uttered the words of the Canticle of Simeon, which Holy Mother Church prays every night in Compline, "Now, Lord, you may dismiss Thy servant in peace, according to Thy word, for my eyes hath seen the salvation which Thou hath wrought for Thy people."

Then, after praising God for the Messiah, Simeon turns to Mary, so modest, so humble, and utters words, which she held, pondering in the pure vessel of her heart: "This Child is destined to be the downfall and rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be rejected - thou thyself shalt be pierced with a sword so the thoughts of many may be revealed" (Luke 2: 34).

Her sorrows then began. But at her side she had the support of her beloved chaste husband Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family. Simeon's prophecy was the first of her sorrows, for keeping these things silently in her immaculate heart, she contemplated them, receiving enlightenment from her Heavenly Spouse the Holy Spirit, while leaning on the strength of Joseph.
One can picture St. Joseph taking Mary's hand reassuringly in his and with a familiar look telling her in the chaste way: "We will face this together." It was St. Joseph who had to with great haste flee with Mary and the Holy Child in the dark of the night, after an angel had appeared to tell him they must flee Herod who sought the life of the Child. Joseph would have recognized the angel as from God for the same angel appeared to him to assure him Mary carried the Messiah and he was to take her into his home. A pious tradition holds this angel to be none other than the great Archangel Gabriel, who is the same angel of the Annunciation.
I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of thy tender heart at the prophesy of Simeon. Dear Mother, by thy heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humilty and the gift of the holy fear of God.
Hail Mary...
(Source: Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother by TAN Books, available for purchase here.)
May Mary's prayers go with you always!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Devotion to Mary's Sorrows is sanctioned by the Church and these prayers can be found in the Missal and Breviary. Special devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, depicted above, is celebrated on two special feast days: the Friday before Good Friday and on September 15th.

Other terms are used such as Sorrowful Mother, Our Lady of Tears, Our Lady's Dolors, Dolorous Mother. I have decided to stick with the english term sorrows instead of dolors.

The Catholic Church has also enriched the devotion to Our Lady's sorrows with indulgences for the pious recitation of the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, and also the Chaplet of Our Lady's Tears. Seven of Mary's Sorrows have been chosen for special veneration. These are the same sorrows of the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and are as follows:

  1. The prophecy of Simeon
  2. The flight into Egypt
  3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
  4. Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary
  5. Jesus dies on the Cross
  6. Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms
  7. Jesus is placed in the tomb.

My next several postings will be on these seven sorrows specifically. Thank you for your time and may Mary's prayers go with you always!

What is this blog about?

Devotion to Mary's sorrows has long been a favorite among Catholics. You do not need to be Catholic however to relate to Mary as a sorrowful mother. Although she was and is the Holy Mother of God she is also human, like us in all things except sin. She suffered greatly during her earthly exile and now resides in Heaven, where she intercedes and pleads for mercy before the throne of the Most High - on our behalf. She will reward generously with her prayers on our behalf all our devotion to her.

Keeping our minds on Mary's sorrows greatly assists us in keeping our minds on the suffering of Jesus. Mary is the surest, safest and quickest route to her Son and devotion to His Mother pleases Him greatly. He who loves His Mother, loves Him. Anyone with a lively devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary will tell you this.

I for my part, intend to daily (or nearly daily) place a small, easily read and absorbed devotion, writing and image to assist those who visit here in thier devotion to Mary and her sorrows. I also intend to post regularly regarding assisting the Holy Souls in purgatory. The Church Suffering is too much neglected by us in these days!

It is not my intention to debate anyone about matters of faith, nor am I a Catholic apologist. I am simply a lay Catholic who is trying to save her sorry soul by relying totally on my Heavenly Mother and the Church for help. I welcome those who wish to learn more about these two pious devotions (Mary's Sorrows and the Holy Souls) to visit here regularly and pray with me and for me if you have but a moment. May Mary's prayers go with you always!