cropped-our-lady-of-sorrows.jpgSAINTS FOR ALL SEASONS

By Cliff Garvey

Our devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows begins and ends with the Holy Gospel. In Luke, Simeon, a man of faith, is assured by God that he will not die until he sees the Messiah. When Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem, Simeon is there. He takes the child into his arms, recognizes him as the Messiah, gives thanks to God for keeping his promise, and shares the following prophecy. He tells the Blessed Mother that because of the Christ Child, many in the world will rise and fall by his word; and that her own soul will be pierced by a sword (Luke 2:35).

Out of this prophecy comes the centuries-old devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary: the Prophecy of Simeon, the Flight into Egypt, the Loss of the Child Jesus in Jerusalem, Mary’s Encounter with Jesus on the Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross, and the Burial of Jesus.

Then in the Gospel of John (19:26-27), Mary’s sorrow reaches its climax when Jesus speaks to her and to the Beloved Disciple from the cross. He entrusts them into each other’s care. In doing so, Jesus creates new life and new love out of death and destruction. He creates a family built on compassion, fraternity, and mutual support that transcends time, meets every need, and reaches out to all people. Taken together, these passages from the Gospels speak of prophecy and promise. They speak of expectation and fulfillment. They speak of heartache and sorrow. But they also show us the sacred way of mercy, sacrifice, and redemption. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus comes the salvation of souls. And out of Mary’s sorrow springs forth the timeless life and ministry of the Church.

Pope Francis says: “In the light of the Gospel, we can contemplate Mary as a model of faith. And we can discern three dimensions of that faith: it is journey, prophecy, and compassion. In contemplating the Mother of Sorrows, may we too open our hearts to a faith that becomes compassion, a faith that identifies with those who are hurting, suffering, and forced to bear heavy crosses. A faith that does not remain abstract, but becomes incarnate in fellowship with those in need. A faith that imitates God’s way of doing things, quietly relieves the suffering of the world, and waters the soil of history with salvation (9-15-21).” In this spirit, we look to the Mother of Sorrows with all of our needs and sufferings. We weep with her in a shared sorrow. We walk with her on the way home. And we pray together:

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Mother of Sorrows,
we walk with you
into God’s Holy Temple.

We listen with you
as the righteous man, Simeon,
speaks of your infant son’s destiny,
and the sword of seven sorrows
that will pierce your sacred heart.

We cry to you across the ages:
‘Mother of God and Mother of Sorrows,
turn our sadness into joy
and soften the hearts
of the evil doers among us!’

Mother of Sorrows,
we watch with you
as your son grows,
becomes a man,
and begins to preach
the only good news that matters.

We marvel with you
as he eats with outcasts,
befriends the forgotten,
and reaches out to the lost sheep.

We stand with you
in awe and wonder
and he heals the sick,
feeds the masses,
and raises his friend
from the darkness of death.

Life and death.
Toil and rest.
Joy and laughter.
Pain and hunger.
Rain and sunshine.
Everydays and holidays.

Your son knows us.
He lives among us.
He laughs and cries,
works and prays,
eats and drinks with us.

Your son is God’s son.
Your son is our friend and brother.
Your son is our merciful savior.

Mother of Sorrows,
we walk with you
on the way of pain.

We watch with you
as your Son is hung upon a cross.
We weep with you
as he suffers unto death.

Because your son is our friend,
he bleeds for us.
Because your son is our brother,
he endures torture for us.
Because your son is our savior,
he dies for us.

But before he surrenders himself,
before he empties himself,
before he commends himself
into the loving arms of God,
Jesus forgives.

He forgives the ones who hang him.
He forgives the criminal who hangs beside him.
Beyond all borders, he forgives us sinners.
Beyond all borders, he forgives the world.

Mother of Sorrows,
hold our Crucified Lord
in your gentle embrace.

Dry the tears of a world
that mourns with you.
And by your prayers,
remind us always:

His anguish ends all anguish.
His pain overcomes all pain.
His death defeats all death.

Beneath the shadow of a cross,
we watch, we weep,
we wish it all away.

But we believe in our hearts:
Faith abides. Mercy remains.
Love lasts and lives on.
Forever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, pray for us!

Saints for All Seasons 2022

Episode 1 – Saint Ann: Grandmother to the World
Episode 2 – Saint Mary Magdalene: Apostle for the Rest of Us
Episode 3 – Saint Clare of Assisi: Consumed by Love
Episode 4 – Saint Rose of Viterbo: Living Witness
Episode 5 – Our Lady of Sorrows: Model of Faith
Episode 6 – Our Lady of the Angels: Lean In


About the Author & Presenter

Cliff Garvey is a co-founder of the Assisi Project. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Saint John Seminary College, and the Catholic University of America. Cliff is a writer, spiritual director, retreat leader, and university lecturer. He also serves as Associate Minister of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in Massachusetts where his ministry focuses on adult faith formation. Thank you for listening to Our Lady of Sorrows: Model of Faith . The Assisi Project Podcast is produced by the Assisi Project, Inc. For more information about the Assisi Project: A Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit and our programs and ministries for adults of all ages and backgrounds, please contact Cliff Garvey at Copyright 2022. All rights reserved. May the Lord give you peace!

Art Credit: Photo 72135603 by Vividaphoto |


About Us

Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers throughout the world. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization. All are welcome to support our ministry via PayPal or AmazonSmile (see links below); or by sending a tax-deductible donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. For more information about the Assisi Project, please contact Cliff Garvey at May the Lord give you peace!

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