By Mary Sayad


    Beloved friends,

    Below is a brief outline of the Blessed Virgin Mary's sorrows and sufferings. I have compiled this for your deeper understanding of the love and sacrifices of a mother - a very unique and endearing Mother.

    The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady:

    1) Simeon's Prophecy
    2) Flight to Egypt
    3) Jesus lost
    4) Way to Calvary
    5) Jesus dies
    6) Descent from the Cross
    7) Jesus buried

    1) Prophecy - According to Moses' law, mothers were required to be purified at the temple 40 days after giving birth. Although Mary was sanctified by Jesus she did not need purification, however, in order that the Law and the prophecies might be fulfilled she was obedient to the law. The holy man Simeon who was inspired by God along with the prophetess Anna awaited her visit. Anna was Mary's teacher during her life in the temple. Upon seeing the child Jesus, Simeon spoke to Mary Luke 2-34 "Behold this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted 35- and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed".

    The following was dictated by Our Blessed Mother to St. Bridget of Sweden: "On that day (of my Purification) my pain was increased. For though by divine inspiration I knew that my Son was to suffer, yet this grief pierced my heart more keenly at Simeon's words. For though by divine inspiration I knew that my Son was to suffer, yet this grief pierced my heart more keenly at Simeon's words. And until I was assumed both body and soul into Heaven, this grief never left my heart, although it was tempered by the consolation of the Spirit of God. Let not, then, this grief leave thy heart, for without tribulation few would reach Heaven."

    2) Flight - Matthew 2-13 "When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him."

    The journey to Egypt was arduous and dangerous. As Our Lady and Joseph traveled by foot in the desert between Palestine and Egypt, they were often surrounded by snakes. They suffered hunger and thirst. The raw desert elements of wind and sandstorms were exhausting. They slept under the sky and their only shelter was Joseph's cloak which he shaped into a tent to protect the Virgin and Child from the wind. One evening they were accosted by a tribe of thieves. Despite their hardships, they prayed constantly and sang hymns of praise to Our Heavenly Father. Their torturous journey lasted for ten days. As Joseph struggled to support his family in the pagan land of Egypt, he was perceived as a foreigner and a refugee so he was barely paid a full day's wage. The Holy Family accepted their poverty and sufferings with patience and resignation.

    3) Lost - Luke 2-44 "Thinking that he was in the caravan they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45- but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 46- After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, 47- and all who heard him were astonished at his understanding and his answers."

    All the Jews would travel to the Temple in Jersusalem to celebrate the annual Passover or Pasch. Likewise, the Holy Family journeyed with their caravan of friends and relatives to the Temple to celebrate Passover. At that time Jesus was twelve years old. After the festival, Jesus, Mary and Joseph began their trip back to their home in Nazareth. Jesus, however, slipped away from the group and returned to Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was not with them, they returned and searched for him throughout the enormous city. For three days Mary and Joseph could not eat or sleep. She was fearful that King Archelaus had imprisoned him. She knew that it was too soon for his Passion, yet, despite her anxiety she remained focused, patient and resigned to the Will of God. Once again her heart was pierced deeply. Joseph, too was overcome with grief for the loss of his foster son. Three days had passed before they found him teaching in the Temple amazing all the scholars, teachers and priests.

    During those three days, before returning to the Temple, Jesus visited hospitals healing spirits and bodies. He also visited three schools frustrating teachers with both his questions and explanations. In addition, he begged for alms and gave everything he collected to the poor and hungry.

    4) Way to Calvary
    5) Jesus dies
    6) Descent from the Cross
    7) Jesus buried

    The last four sorrows of the Blessed Mother were the most indescribable and difficult pains that she bore during her life for her son's humiliation, beatings and Passion. She too offered her suffering for mankind and forgave all who cursed and inflicted physical pain on Jesus. Indeed, her tender and uncompromising love is beyond our understanding. I will describe her remaining sorrows in more detail at a later date.

    Jesus and Mary are the purest and most innocent of God's creation. Both were totally free from sin. Jesus is Divine and was Divinely conceived. Mary was human and humanly conceived but she was born without Original Sin, hence she is the Immaculate Conception. Jesus and Mary were humble and totally resigned to the Father's Will. As serious knowledgeable Christians, we may still struggle to fully comprehend the logic of Jesus' cruel and unrelenting torture.

    The Holy Bible is replete with messages of salvation, forgiveness and love. Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurreection is a message of hope. Through our trials and tribulations we must always bear in mind the unceasing love and mercy of God. He will always provide us with the strength to continue with faith in our personal difficulties and fears.

    The Holy Eucharist is truly the Bread of Life. The Sacrament of Penance is the door to our salvation. Each time we receive these Sacraments devoutly and with contrite hearts, we will gain the Grace and the strength to overcome our challenges. Through prayer we come into intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

    Follow Our Lady's example and always put God first. Pray for all your needs but be resigned to God's Holy Will.

    From time to time, you may waiver, but upon your return, your spirit will soar with joy and peace. Who can put a price on genuine joy and peace?

    This is my prayer for each and everyone of you:
    Phillipians 4:6, 7 -"Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus.

    Your companion in prayer,