There is no better companion for our Lenten prayer journey than our Blessed Mother. During this season of penance, she who witnessed her Divine Son suffer and die for the sins of mankind can assist our hearts to have true contrition for our personal contribution to his pains. We may often think of the Blessed Mother as being serene and joyful, but during Lent it is good for us to meditate on her title of Our Lady of Sorrows, beautifully recounted in the prayer below.
A LENTEN PRAYER TO OUR LADY
O Mary, ever Virgin, most august Sovereign and Queen of Martyrs, no human mind can conceive, no human tongue express, the immensity of the sorrow which filled thy heart with bitterness and bathed thy face with tears, during the Passion and at the Death of thy most beloved Son, Jesus. After His sad farewell, when He parted from thee to go to the Sacrifice, came that awful night when thou didst in spirit contemplate Him sweating blood in the garden, taken captive, tortured in a thousand ways, and imprisoned as a malefactor. And when morning was come, thou didst see Him dragged from tribunal to tribunal, equaled with, nay, rejected for Barabbas, treated as a fool, cruelly scourged, and crowned with sharp thorns.
Thou didst hear the sentence of His condemnation, the echoes of the trumpets. Thou didst follow Him as He carried the Cross on His wounded Shoulders, fell on the ground, and received fresh wounds from His falls. Thou didst see Him on that Way of Sorrow, unable to look at thee because of the spittings, the blood, and the tears which filled His Divine eyes. Thou wast present there, when the executioners pierced His Hands and His Feet with large nails, lifted Him on the Cross between two thieves, and thy garments were sprinkled with His Most Precious Blood.
Thou didst hear His Seven Words on the Cross, which as seven arrows pierced through thy compassionate Heart; that especially by which He gave thee John, and in his person all men as thy sons in His stead. Thou didst witness the cruelty of His enemies when, parched with thirst, He was given gall and vinegar to drink. Thou didst behold Him in the last pangs of His three hours’ Agony; and when, bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit, thy soul too seemed to be rent from thy body. But, as if He had not been insulted enough, thou didst see an impious soldier, even after His Death, pierce with a lance His Sacred and most loving Heart.
All the wounds of thine own heart were reopened, when, receiving in thine arms His lifeless Body, thou didst count the numberless wounds and scars with which It was covered, and didst, disconsolate, bathe them with burning tears. And now thy desolation reached its height, when, after having left Him in the sepulcher, thou didst return alone and bereft to Jerusalem, and there in thy solitude didst again, one by one, go over the sad scenes of His torments and Death.
To what shall I compare thee, O most Sorrowful Mother? To what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O Virgin Daughter of Sion? For indeed great as the sea is thy destruction; who shall heal thee? I wish, O afflicted Mother, I wish I could weep with thee in these thy most cruel sufferings, with tears of blood, thus to blot out my iniquities, which were the accursed cause of the anguish and desolation of thy soul.
I beseech thee, most compassionate Virgin, by the torments of thy Divine Son and these thy bitter Sorrows, obtain for me grace to hate sin, to become thy devoted servant, and to console thee by a holy life. Deign also to assist me in all my necessities, spiritual and temporal; but, above all, stand by me at the hour of my death, that by thy powerful protection I may reap the fruit of so great sufferings, and bless my loving Savior and thyself, my Sorrowful Mother, with eternal gratitude in the heavenly Kingdom. Amen.
This article has been updated and was originally published in March 2013. © The Catholic Company. All rights reserved.