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Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows – The Servite Rosary

Icon of Our Lady of Sorrows, ‘Softener of Evil Hearts’

Our Lady of Sorrows, ‘Softener of Evil Hearts’

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. In common religious Orthodox-Catholic imagery, the Blessed Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful and lacrimating affect, with seven daggers piercing her heart, often bleeding. Devotional prayers that consist of meditation began to elaborate on her Seven Sorrows based on the prophecy of Simeon:

“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.”

Common examples of piety under this title are Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows – Servite rosary, or the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Like all rosaries, the Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows is a meditation on the mystery-events of God’s love for us as reflected in the life of Jesus and Mary. Specifically, it invites us to meditate on those times in the life of Mary when she experienced the pain and suffering that tested her faith and invited her to a full sharing of the mystery of God’s salvation in her Son, Jesus.

By this reflection, in the context of verbal prayers of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, we open our hearts to the power of this mystery, and so allow His Word to enter and change our lives.

This Servite Rosary consist of Seven Mysteries of Sorrows. Each mystery is introduced by a meditation to guide our reflection as we pray the Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys. The Rosary is concluded with three Hail Marys, as added petition for true sorrow and a desire to model our lives on the example of the life and faith of Mary.

Our Lady of Sorrows Rosary Prayer


Seven Sorrows of Mary Servite Rosary

Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows – The Servite Rosary from the Rosary Bay workshop

Beginning
When starting the Rosary of Sorrows, after the sign of the cross, we do not recite the “Creed,” but immediately say the following prayer:

Introductory prayer
My God, I offer you this Rosary in honour of the seven principal Sorrows of Mary, for your greatest glory, for my conversion and that of all people through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our salvation and our unique way to come to you, in union with the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen!

Act of contrition
My God, I regret so much to have offended you because you are infinitely good, infinitely kind and you dislike sin. I make a firm resolution, with the help of your holy grace, never to offend you and to do penance. In this state of contrition, I want to live and die. Amen!

Then we begin the meditation of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary….
In the Sorrows of the Virgin Mary we see a reflection of the suffering and bitter anguish of the human Christ. Just as Mary accepted the total mystery of Christ into her life, so may we see in our sorrow, our fear, and humiliation, a dim, but real participation in His passion and death, recalling that if we wish to follow Him, we must “take up our cross” each day. Let us pray that we may accept Christ’s call, and become co-sufferers of His passion.

I THE FIRST SORROW
The Prophecy Of Simeon (Luke 2:34–35)

Many of us are parents. We know that only by sharing life with God is life fulfilled. That is why we also sense a fear about the future of our loved ones. Simeon’s prophecy was a blessing for all mankind, but foretold grief for you, Mary. Your first sorrow was much more than a parent’s fear.
(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)

II THE SECOND SORROW
The Flight Into Egypt (Matthew 2:13) 

What can a mother do when the life of her child is threatened? When Herod decreed death for all those innocent children, God warned Joseph. With no time for packing or goodbyes, you escaped into the night. Homeless and tired, with an uncertain future before you, you were secure in nothing but the love of those who needed you.
(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)

III THE THIRD SORROW
The Loss Of Jesus In The Temple (Luke 2:43–45)
A child is lost. What panic grips the hearts of parents at such a time! They wonder, “Is he safe?” “Will I ever see him again?” And then they imagine things too terrible to express. It was the same for you and Joseph. Mary, for three days you sought Jesus. It took faith to continue the search in the pain of separation.
(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)

IV THE FOURTH SORROW
Mary Meets Jesus On the Way To Calvary (traditional)
What mother called suddenly to the hospital to see her sick or injured child has not wished: “If only I could suffer instead of you!” But she remains only a spectator. Mary, you saw Jesus beaten and bloody. You felt powerless to help Him, and yet through your love you shared His pain.
(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)

V THE FIFTH SORROW
Jesus Dies On The Cross (John 19:25)
It has often been said, “To lose a child is the worst death for a parent to endure.” Mary, in those long hours, at the cross, perhaps your thoughts returned to earlier days. How horrible now to face the reality of death! His breath grew labored. The time had come. Yet He spoke to you and consoled you. In dying he gave life to others and made you mother of all mankind.
(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)

VI THE SIXTH SORROW
Mary Receives The Dead Body of Jesus (Matthew 27:57–59)
He is dead . . . and it hardly seems real. How many of us have paused before the body of a loved one and wondered: “Can this be happening to me?” Death is real, all too real! As you held Jesus in your arms, Mary, you probably wondered as we have, “Is this the end of everything?”
(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)

VII THE SEVENTH SORROW
Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb (John 19:40–42)
The garden and the bomb . . . there is something strangely consoling about the burial of Jesus, Mary. Perhaps a flower or blade of grass reminded you of his words “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot produce new life.” It is always difficult to see death and life together, but you continued to believe, hope, and love. His words filled your heart.
(One Our Father …. Seven Hail Marys)

Closing Prayer
Lord God, our Father, from the passion and death of Jesus, shared by the compassion of his Mother, you brought healing to fallen man. Grant that we, your people, may experience this healing and rise from the power of sin to a wholeness of life promised by Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
AMEN.

After meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Mary and closing prayer, recite three Hail Mary’s in honor of Our Blessed Lady’s tears on the first three beads of the chaplet.


Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows (The Servite Rosary)

Our Lady of Sorrows Information is taken from:
(1)TWENTY-FOUR ROSARIES AND CHAPLETS by Patrick Shaughnessy, O.S.B., S.T.D. Reprinted 1984 by Our Lady’s Rosary Makers.
(2)Reference from Card. The Servants of Mary, Berwyn, Illinois 60402
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