It commemorates the profound union of heart that existed between the Mother of the Redeemer and the Savior, through which she experienced many interior sorrows as a consequence of His Mission, but particularly during His Passion and Death.
The Lucan passage is Simeon's prediction about a sword piercing Mary's soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus' words from the cross to Mary and to the beloved disciple. Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary's sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross.
The First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon and Anna
The Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt. ...
The Third Sorrow: The Loss of the Child Jesus. ...
The Fourth Sorrow: The Condemnation of Jesus. ...
The Fifth Station: The Crucifixion of Jesus. ...
The Sixth Station: The Retrieval of Jesus' Body. ...
The Seventh Station: The Burial of Jesus.
Jesus promised St. Elizabeth of Hungaryher four principal ones:
First, that those who before death invoke the Divine Mother in the name of her sorrows should obtain true repentance of all their sins.
Second, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death.
Third, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in heaven.
Fourth, that He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.”
“that after the assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven, St. John the Evangelist desired to see her again. The favor was granted him; his dear Mother appeared to him, and with her Jesus Christ also appeared; the St. then heard Mary ask her Son to grant some special grace to all those who are devoted to her sorrows. Jesus promised her four principal ones:
Promises of the Blessed Virgin Mary for honoring
1. “I will grant peace to their families.”Our Lady of Sorrows
2. “They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries.”
3. “I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.”
4. “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.”
5. “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
6. “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death—they will see the face of their mother.”
7. “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.”
For a while there were two feasts in honor of the Sorrowful Mother: one going back to the 15th century, the other to the 17th century. For a while both were celebrated by the universal Church: one on the Friday before Palm Sunday, the other in September.
The principal biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon’s prediction about a sword piercing Mary’s soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus’ words from the cross to Mary and to the beloved disciple.
Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. Thus, the two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.
Saint Ambrose in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son’s wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed, but offered herself to her persecutors.