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Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows

Known for her suffering and grief as the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ, Mary is often shown with seven daggers piercing her sorrowful heart.

 

The first blade represents the Prophecy of Simeon. When she and Joseph presented the infant Jesus at the Temple as was required, they encountered the elderly Simeon. He proclaimed the child as the promised Messiah, but warned Mary of suffering to come, "a sword will pierce your own soul too."

The second dagger signifies the Flight into Egypt. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Herod threatened to kill all infant boys to eliminate the prophesied Messiah. Mary fled with Joseph and the babe into Egypt as refugees seeking asylum from persecution and death squads. She clutched him tightly with a heavy heart.

The third points to the Loss of the Child Jesus in Jerusalem. At the age of 12, Jesus lingered in the Temple without his parents’ knowledge. For three days Mary desperately searched for her lost son. Her worry was tremendous and mirrored every parent’s fear and pain of losing a child even briefly.  

The fourth blade is for The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Way to Calvary, when she saw her now grown son beaten and bloodied. Every step toward his execution broke her heart anew. Only a wordless gaze passed between mother and child.

The fifth reminds of The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. What grief could be sharper than a mother watching her innocent son die in agony on a cross intended for criminals? She stayed with him until the end, her soul utterly pierced.

The sixth stabs at the Taking Down of Jesus’ Body from the Cross. No longer breathing with a spear-pierced side, the corpse of her boy was removed. She received his limp body into her arms. Overwhelmed with limitless sorrow.

And the seventh knife represents The Burial of Jesus. His bruised and battered body wrapped carefully in burial shrouds and sealed in the cold dark tomb. Her child who had been promised to redeem all Israel now appeared starkly defeated. Grief once more broke like a wave.

Our Lady of Seven Sorrows. Her passion is a universal experience of maternal love and suffering. She stands with all who weep, bleed, and grieve that which pierces mothers’ souls. Comfort for the afflicted, she remains a companionship of tears.

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