The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows, reminds us that Mary plays a key role in our Redemption and that she suffered along with her Son Jesus to save us. It is prayed using a special rosary comprised of seven “decades” containing seven beads each.
Here is how the Chaplet of Seven Sorrows is prayed:
Each group of seven is begun with an Our Father, as in the regular Rosary. Some people start with an Act of Contrition, since the devotion has a penitential aspect. Also like the regular Rosary, the groups of seven Hail Marys are an occasion for meditation on “Mysteries” — in this case, the Seven Sorrows of Mary, listed below:
The First Sorrow
The Prophecy of Simeon
Reading: Luke 2:25-35.
When Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus in the temple, Simeon predicts that a “sword” (of sorrow) will pierce Mary’s soul.
The Second Sorrow
The flight into Egypt
Reading: Matthew 2:13-15.
When King Herod orders the death of all male children age two or younger, Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt with the infant Jesus.
The Third Sorrow
The Child Jesus Lost in the Temple
Reading: Luke 2: 41-50.
Mary and Joseph search for the child Jesus for three days, finding Him at last — after agonizing sorrow — in the temple.
The Fourth Sorrow
Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross
Reading: Luke 23: 27-29.
As Jesus makes His way to Calvary, condemned to crucifixion, He meets His mother, Mary. He is bruised, derided, cursed and defiled and her sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags His own cross up the hill of His crucifixion.
The Fifth Sorrow
Mary at the foot of the cross
Reading: John 19: 25-30.
Mary stands near her dying Son unable to minister to him as He cries “I thirst.” She hears Him promise heaven to a thief and forgive His enemies. His last words, “Behold your mother,” charge us to look on Mary as our mother.
The Sixth Sorrow
Mary receives the body of Jesus
Reading: Psalm 130.
Jesus is taken down from the cross and His body is placed in Mary’s arms. The passion and death are over, but for His mother, grief continues. She holds His body in her arms.
The Seventh Sorrow
Mary witnesses the burial of Jesus
Reading: Luke 23: 50-56.
The body of Jesus is laid in the tomb. The most tragic day in history ends, Mary alone in sorrow, awaiting the Resurrection.