St Clare of Assisi

Saturday, April 23, 2011

HOLY SATURDAY - Meditation on the Seven Sorrows of Mary


On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord's tomb, meditating on his suffering and death.  The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the mass is not celebrated.  Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.

Thus let us accompany Our Holy Mother Mary in her desolation by meditating not only on the sufferings of her son but also her pierced Immaculate Heart.



THE SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY 

V: O God, come to my assistance; 
R: O Lord, make haste to help me 
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. 
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.



Sorrow 1 - The Prophecy of Simeon
(Luke 2:33-35) 
'The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; 
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 
"Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, 
and to be a sign that will be contradicted 
(and you yourself a sword will pierce) 
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
   
Sorrow as sharp as a sword shall pierce Mary's heart because of her Child. Mary is in the Temple, having come with Joseph to present the Child to God. They meet Simeon, the holy man, and Anna, the prophetess. Simeon takes the Baby in his arms, saying he will now die in peace because he has seen Christ, then he foretells the sorrow to come.

I grieve for you, O Mary, most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God.

Recite seven (7) Hail Mary's
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now,
and at the hour of our death. Amen.

O Sorrowful Mother, pierce my heart through, and every wound of Christ renew in my heart.


Sorrow 2 - The Flight into Egypt
(Matthew 3: 13-15)
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 fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son."

Soon the sword of sorrow strikes. Herod the King seeks to kill the Child. Warned in sleep by an angel, Joseph takes Jesus and His Mother Mary, setting out for Egypt, where they lived in obscurity and poverty until it was safe to return to Nazareth. 
 
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there.  Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.

Recite seven (7) Hail Mary's

O Sorrowful Mother, pierce my heart through, and every wound of Christ renew in my heart.


Sorrow 3 - Loss of Jesus For Three Days
   
(Luke 2:41-52)
     And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch, and when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, 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.
     And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered, And his mother said to him: 
"Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." And he said to them: "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know, that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.

When Jesus is twelve, He is taken to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. On the return journey Joseph and Mary find at the end of the first day that Jesus is not with them. Racked with anxiety, they search for Him. Nobody in the streets, not even the beggars, can tell them where He is. Not till the third day do they find Him, in the Temple.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the lost of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.

Recite seven (7) Hail Mary's

O Sorrowful Mother, pierce my heart through, and every wound of Christ renew in my heart.

Sorrow 4 - The Way to Calvary 
    
(John 19:17)
And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, in Hebrew Golgotha.

Mary has known fear and sorrow, but none so great as seeing her beloved Son stumbling under the weight of the Cross. She hears the jeering shouts from the crowd and has no power to help Him. Pity and love are in her eyes as she gazes at His blood-stained face. To many around her He is no better than a criminal, and her heart is breaking as she follows Him to Calvary or Golgotha.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.

Recite seven (7) Hail Mary's

O Sorrowful Mother, pierce my heart through, and every wound of Christ renew in my heart.

Sorrow 5 - The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord
   (John 19:25-30)
So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews."
Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that he said, 'I am the King of the Jews.'"
Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be," in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says): "They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots." This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst."
There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

With John, Mary stands at the foot of the Cross. "A sword shall pierce thy soul," Simeon told her. Truly her heart is pierced with sorrow. Her beloved Son is dying and she shares in His suffering. She does not ask God to take away this agony. She is His Mother, so close to Him that His pain is hers, too. And now He speaks from the Cross: "Woman, behold thy son." Jesus give His Mother to John, and to us. For all eternity she is our Mother.
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.

Recite seven (7) Hail Mary's

O Sorrowful Mother, pierce my heart through, and every wound of Christ renew in my heart.


Sorrow 6 - The Descent from the Cross
(Matthew 27: 57 – 59)
3When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus.  He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.  Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it (in) clean linen

It is over.  Dark clouds have appeared in the sky and upon the world. Jesus is dead. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take down the Body from the Cross. and Mary receives It in her arms. She is filled with a sadness that no human heart has known. This is her Son. Once she had cradled Him in her arms. listened to His voice, watched Him working at the carpenter's bench. Now He is dead. She does not weep, her grief is too great for tears. 
 
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of 
understanding.

Recite seven (7) Hail Mary's

O Sorrowful Mother, pierce my heart through, and every wound of Christ renew in my heart.

Sorrow 7 - The Burial of Jesus
   (John 19: 31-40)

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe.
For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: "Not a bone of it will be broken."
And again another passage says: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced."
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

Hastily the Body is wrapped in a clean linen cloth. Nicodemus has brought myrrh and aloes, and the Body is bound in the Shroud with them. nearby is a new tomb, belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, and there they lay Jesus. Mary and John and the holy women follow them and watch as the great stone to the sepulchre is rolled. it is the end. 
 
I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom.

Recite seven (7) Hail Mary's

O Sorrowful Mother, pierce my heart through, and every wound of Christ renew in my heart.


PRAYER OF ST. BONAVENTURE TO THE MOTHER OF SORROWS
O sorrowful Virgin, unite me at least to the humiliations and wounds of thy Son, so that both He and thee may find comfort in having someone sharing thy sufferings. Oh, how happy I would be if I could do this! For is there perhaps anything greater, sweeter, or more advantageous for a person? Why dost thou not grant me what I ask? If I have offended thee, be just and pierce my heart. If I have been faithful to thee, leave me not without a reward: give me thy sorrows. 
 
PRAYER OF ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI 
 O afflicted Virgin, O soul great in virtues, as in sorrows, both the one and the other spring from that great fire burning in thy heart for God, the only love of thy heart!
Mother, have pity on me, who has not loved God, and who has so greatly offended Him. Thy sorrows, it is true, assure me of pardon, but that is not sufficient. I wish to love God. Who could obtain for me that grace if not thee, who are the Mother of holy love! O Mary, Thou consolest everyone; favour me also, with thy consolations. Amen. 
 

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