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The Rosary of the Seven Dolors

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The Rosary of the Seven Dolors – an efficacious meditation

The Rosary of the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a beautiful way to meditate on the Passion of Our Blessed Lord through the tearful eyes of Our Blessed Mother. A PDF of these prayers is available here.

Introductory Prayers

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

My God, I offer you this rosary for your glory. I want to honour your Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, by meditating upon and sharing in her suffering.

O my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, trusting in your infinite love I turn to you for forgiveness and mercy. I am truly sorry for the pains you suffered in your most bitter Passion because of my sins. For love of you, and before your holy presence, I utterly renounce and forsake all the sins of my whole life. I ask pardon of you with all my heart. I firmly resolve to amend my life and would rather die than offend you again.

O Blessed Virgin Mary, you are our tender Mother and the refuge of sinners. I run to you with confidence and love. Hide me under your mantle of love and protection. As I meditate upon the swords of sorrow that pierced your Immaculate Heart, obtain for me the forgiveness of my sins and the grace to live a life of heroic holiness.

O Blessed Mother, I unite my heart to yours and offer this rosary for priests: for their growth in holiness, obedience to the Magisterium, boldness in the proclamation of the Gospel, and a profound love for the people of God. May all priests humbly lead the souls entrusted to their care into an intimate relationship with the Lord.

[I also pray for the following particular intention(s)]

V. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

R. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.

The First Sword of Sorrow – Simeon announces the suffering destiny of Jesus

"And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted;  And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed." - Luke 2: 34-35

O Mother of Sorrows, how deeply your heart was pierced with sorrow when Simeon announced that Jesus, your beloved Child, was to be a sign that would be rejected. Your heart knew that He was to be the suffering Messiah the prophets had foretold, the man of sorrows, who would carry all our sins and heal us by His wounds. Through this bitter sorrow obtain for us the grace never to reject Jesus or refuse Him anything. Help us to completely surrender our lives to Him and to live according to His most holy will in everything.

Our Father & seven Hail Mary’s

Holy Mother hear my prayers, and renew in my heart each wound of Jesus my Saviour.

The Second Sword of Sorrow – Mary escapes into Egypt with Jesus and Joseph

"And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod:  That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son." - Matt 2: 13-15

O Mother of Sorrows, what pain filled your heart as you fled your home and country knowing that the tyrant Herod was intent on murdering your little Child whom you loved above all else. The hardships of travel, the long journey, and life as a refugee was nothing compared to the torment of such demonic malice directed toward Jesus. Through this bitter sword of sorrow obtain for us the grace never to risk the life of Jesus in our souls through deliberate sin.

Our Father & seven Hail Mary’s

Holy Mother hear my prayers, and renew in my heart each wound of Jesus my Saviour.

The Third Sword of Sorrow – Mary seeks Jesus lost in Jerusalem

"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 kinsfolks 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." - Luke 2: 41-51

O Mother of Sorrows, what grief filled your heart as you and Joseph searched desperately for Jesus when you could not find Him among your relatives and friends returning home from Jerusalem. When your Son replied that He must be about His Father’s business, you accepted that He had begun the mission that would lead to His sacrificial death. The sorrow of those three days of separation prepared you for the three days of suffering you endured while His body lay lifeless in the tomb. Through this bitter sword of sorrow obtain for us the grace to accept the ways of Divine Providence even when we do not understand them.

Our Father & seven Hail Mary’s

Holy Mother hear my prayers, and renew in my heart each wound of Jesus my Saviour.

The Fourth Sword of Sorrow – Mary meets Jesus as He carries His Cross to Calvary

"And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us. For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?" - Luke 23: 26-31

O Mother of Sorrows, how it must have wounded your tender maternal heart to see your beloved Son Jesus carrying His Cross to Calvary, the place of execution! How it must have pained you to see Him so bloodied, beaten, and reviled as He strained to fulfill His deepest desire: to give His life as a ransom for us. Through this bitter sword of sorrow obtain for us the grace to deny yourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Jesus with perseverance and love.

Our Father & seven Hail Mary’s

Holy Mother hear my prayers, and renew in my heart each wound of Jesus my Saviour.

The Fifth Sword of Sorrow – Mary stands near the Cross of her Son Jesus

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son." - John 19: 25-27

O Mother of Sorrows, here the prophecy of Simeon comes to its ultimate fulfilment: the sword of sorrow impales your heart as you stand beneath the Cross of your Son. Crucified spiritually with your crucified Son, you offered Him to the Father and united yourself completely to His self-offering and sacrificial death. We simply cannot fathom the pain of your offering or the depth of love that inspired it. Through this bitter sword of sorrow obtain for us the grace to unite all our sufferings to our crucified Lord with unselfish generosity and love.

Our Father & seven Hail Mary’s

Holy Mother hear my prayers, and renew in my heart each wound of Jesus my Saviour.

The Sixth Sword of Sorrow – Mary receives into her arms the body of Jesus taken down from the Cross

"And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus." -  John 19: 38

O Mother of Sorrows, your heart was drowned in grief as you embraced the lifeless corpse of your Son. He who was your very life was now dead. Your light in this life was extinguished. Yet you accepted this sorrow with love knowing that it was all part of the Father’s plan of salvation. Through this bitter sword of sorrow obtain for us the grace to accept with patience and love the sorrows that befall us in this vale of tears, firmly believing that God works all things to the good for those who love Him.

Our Father & seven Hail Mary’s

Holy Mother hear my prayers, and renew in my heart each wound of Jesus my Saviour.

The Seventh Sword of Sorrow – Mary helps place the body of Jesus in the tomb

"And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night,) bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.  Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid.  There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand." - John 19: 39-42

O Mother of Sorrows, who could express the cruel anguish of this moment? The same Child that you once wrapped in swaddling clothes amidst unspeakable joy, you now wrap silently in His burial shroud. Your tears mingle with the blood and dirt that covers His broken body. But even in this moment your trust in His promise did not die. Your mourning was not without hope, for you knew that He would rise again from this grave just as He promised. Through this bitter sword of sorrow obtain for us the grace to believe with unshakable hope in the victory of our Lord even in the darkest moments of life.

Our Father & seven Hail Mary’s

Holy Mother hear my prayers, and renew in my heart each wound of Jesus my Saviour.

Pray three Hail Mary’s in honour of the tears of Our Sorrowful Mother.

Closing Prayers

O Mary, you truly became the Queen of all martyrs as these seven bitter swords of sorrow pierced your Immaculate Heart! By the merits of your tearful distress obtain for us and for all sinners the graces of perfect contrition and conversion. Help us always, dear Mother, to imitate you by taking up our crosses and following Jesus with limitless love and generosity. Amen.

Mary, who was conceived without sin and who suffered for us, pray for us. (Say three times)

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

Download the Prayers here:

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