The Rosary of the Seven Dolours

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The Rosary of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a way of holding in one's heart the mystery/events of the Childhood and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Compassion of His Virgin Mother.

The fruits of this particular prayer are well known to those who pray it habitually: compunction of heart, detachment from the occasions of sin, chastity, humility, reparation, compassion, intimacy with the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, and desire to contemplate the adorable Face of Christ.

The power of this prayer -- something that many have experienced -- comes from allowing one's own heart to be irrigated and purified by the tears of the Mother of God. The tears of the Sorrowful Mother bring purity and healing wherever they fall. Appearing in Kibeho, Rwanda in 1982 and 1983, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Word, asked that the prayer of the Rosary of the Seven Dolours be renewed and promoted in the Church.

Here is a method I prepared for saying the Rosary of the Seven Dolours:

+ Incline, unto my aid, O God.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen. Alleluia.
(In place of Alleluia, from Ash Wednesday until Easter is said:
Praise be to thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory.)

1. The prophecy of Simeon.

“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
'Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, and a sword will pierce through thine own soul also, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35).

Holy Mother of God, I remember the sorrow of thy heart upon hearing Simeon’s prophecy, and I desire to contemplate with thee the Face of Jesus, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to God’s people Israel” (cf. Lk 2:32).

One Our Father and seven Hail Marys.

Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.

2. The flight into Egypt.

“And 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 thee; 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 fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, 'Out of Egypt have I called my Son’” (Mt 2:13-15).

Holy Mother of God, I remember the sorrow of thy heart at the flight into Egypt by night, and I desire to contemplate with thee the Face of Jesus, born “to save his people from their sins” (cf. Mt 1:21).

One Our Father and seven Hail Marys.

Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.

3. The loss of Jesus for three days.

“And when they saw Him they were astonished; and his mother said to Him,
'Son, why hast Thou treated us so? Behold, Thy father and I have been looking for Thee anxiously.’ And He said to them, 'How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?'" (Lk 2:48-49).

Holy Mother of God, I remember the sorrow of thy heart when together with Saint Joseph thou didst search for Jesus for three days, and I desire to contemplate with thee the Face of Jesus, “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).

One Our Father and seven Hail Marys.

Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.

4. Her meeting Jesus, carrying His cross.

“He was oppressed and was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not his mouth. . . . Yet He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Is 53:7, 12).

Holy Mother of God, I remember the sorrow of thy heart when thou didst encounter thy Jesus bearing His cross, and I desire to contemplate with thee the Face of Jesus, “despised and rejected by men” (Is 53:3).

One Our Father and seven Hail Marys.

Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.

5. Her standing beneath the cross on Calvary.

“But standing by the Cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to his mother, 'Woman, behold thy son!’ Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold, thy mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (Jn 19:25-27).

Holy Mother of God, I remember the sorrow of thy heart when thou didst see thy Child’s hands and feet nailed to the wood of the Cross and His side pierced by the soldier’s lance, and I desire to contemplate with thee the Face of Jesus Crucified, bowed in death.

One Our Father and seven Hail Marys.

Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.

6. The Sacred Body of Jesus, taken down from the cross.

“What can I say for thee, to what compare thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? What can I liken to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? For vast as the sea is thy ruin; who can restore thee? Cry aloud to the Lord! O daughter of Sion! Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Give thyself no rest, thy eyes no respite” (Lam 2:13, 18).

Holy Mother of God, I remember the sorrow of thy heart when thou didst behold the lifeless Body of Jesus taken down from the cross, and I desire to contemplate with thee the Face of Jesus, “beautiful above the sons of men” (Ps 44:3).

One Our Father and seven Hail Marys.

Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.

7. Her witnessing the burial of the Sacred Body of her Son.

Joseph of Arimathea “went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the Day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how the body was laid; then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Lk 23:52-55).

Holy Mother of God, I remember the sorrow of thy heart when thou didst behold the Body of Jesus wrapped in a linen shroud and laid in the tomb, and I desire to contemplate with thee the Face of Jesus, covered with a veil in death.

One Our Father and seven Hail Marys.

Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.

In honour of the tears shed by Our Lady during these Seven Dolours:
Three Hail Marys.

O Mother of Sorrows, by the tears thou didst shed,
grant that I may weep for my sins. Hail Mary.

O Mother of Sorrows, by the tears thou didst shed,
soften the hardened hearts of sinners. Hail Mary.

O Mother of Sorrows, by the tears thou didst shed,
allow me to make reparation for my sins. Hail Mary.

3 Comments

Father: Thanks for this post. I will pray this rosary for all the priests.

Best regards,
Gonzalo Alarcón I.

Fr. Mark,

What does praying this "habitually" mean? Does one pray this daily, or could I pray it every Friday before the Blessed Sacrament?

I tried praying this today before the Blessed Sacrament and I derived so much understanding of Jesus' and the Blessed Mother's passion. It gave me so much meaning when I meditated on and prayed this today. Thank you, Fr. Mark for sharing this prayer with us.

Regine

"Habitually" means different things for different people. It has to do with a rhythm of prayer that is integrated into the bigger scheme of things. Weekly, twice weekly, daily: choose whatever works for you. The important thing is to become familiar with the prayer. With such things one must respect the freedom of the children of God, and act according to the attractions that come from the Holy Ghost, and the counsel of a spiritual father or mother.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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