Our Lady's Seven Sorrows,
Seven Promises, and Fatima's Connection
As Our Lady of Sorrows, our Blessed Mother granted several promises for those who would honor her under this title, and Jesus also added four more for this devotion. On October 13, 1917, during her last apparition and the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Mary appeared not only as Our Lady of the Rosary and As Our Lady of Mount Carmel, but also as Our Lady of Sorrows.
Mary told the three children during her September 13th apparition: "In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. St. Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world", preparing them for her last visit.
How the Devotion Began
In the 4th century, Ephrem the Syrian and St. Ambrose, celebrated and venerated Mary's sorrows and compassion. In 1239 the sorrows of Mary standing under the cross became the main devotion of the new order, the Servants of Mary or Servites. In his major book The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus Ligouri explains how in that year Our Lady appeared to seven of her servants "with a black garment in her hand, and told them that if they wished to please her, they should often meditate upon her dolors (sorrows)." These seven became the founder of Servants of Mary, the Servites.
Centuries later, in 1814, the Holy See placed the
feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on the Roman calendar on September 15sup>th.
The Seven Sorrows
These are the Seven Sorrows of Mary:
Promises of Our Lady
According to Marian expert Mark Miravalle, "So much does the Crucified Lord desire humanity to ponder, along with His own saving Redemption, the coredemption of his Mother, that He has attached to the prayerful meditation of the seven principal historical events of Our Lady's sufferings promises of grace and mercy that are nothing short of extraordinary and miraculous."
Our Blessed Mother revealed these seven promises to St. Bridget of Sweden in the 14th century. Our Lady said she would bestow seven graces to the those souls honoring her daily by saying seven Hail Marys while meditating on her tears and sorrows:
Promises of Jesus
In The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus also lists the four promises Jesus made for those devoted to his Mother's sorrows. Alphonsus recounts the revelation made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary "that after the assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven, St. John the Evangelist desired to see her again. The favor was granted him; his dear Mother appeared to him, and with her Jesus Christ also appeared; St. John then heard Mary ask her Son to grant some special grace to all those who are devoted to her dolors. Jesus promised her four principal ones:
In her book 'Calls' From the Message of Fatima, Sister Lucia brings out this same connection that "Mary, made one with Christ, is the co-redemptrix of the human race."
Lucia explains how at Calvary "Mary suffered and agonized with Jesus, receiving into her Immaculate Heart the last sufferings of Christ, His last words, His last agony and the last drops of His Blood, in order to offer them to the Father."
Lucia adds her own interpretation of this vision of Our Lady of Sorrows; God wishes "to show us the value of suffering, sacrifice and immolation for the sake of love. In the world of today hardly anyone wants to hear these truths, such is the extent to which people are living in search of pleasure, of empty worldly happiness, and exaggerated comfort. But the more one flees from suffering, the more we find ourselves immersed in a sea of afflictions, disappointments and (worldly) suffering."
How to console our Blessed Mother? Again, Fatima answers:
During the July 13 apparition, Our Lady told the children, Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Do the Five First Saturday devotions. On December 10, 1925 Our Lady and Jesus appeared in the convent in Pontevedra, Spain to Lucia who described the visit.
Jesus said: Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.
Then the Blessed Virgin Mary said to Lucia: Look, my daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to Me.
Again, comforting her sorrows also means putting into practice what she said in each apparition, including on Oct. 13: I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day.
Beginning this centennial anniversary, it's time we comfort Our Lady of Sorrows.