Powerful Promises- The Ultimate Guide to LentMar 10, 2023
I was recently published in "The Ultimate Guide to Lent" by the Catholic Telegraph in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The article was entitled, "Powerful Promises."
Math is not my strongest subject, so when I discovered that there IS a Seven Sorrows Rosary, my first thought was, how can it be that different from the traditional, 5-decade rosary? The traditional (or Dominican) rosary is five sets of ten Hail Marys. The Seven Sorrows rosary is seven sets of seven Hail Mary's. So 50 Hail Mary's versus 49 Hail Marys. What's the difference- one Hail Mary?
Then I prayed the Seven Sorrows Rosary and something felt different. What was it? Was it that Mary was the central figure of each scene, whereas the Dominican rosary switches between Jesus and Mary?
Was it that there were only sorrows instead of cycling through Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious- with an occasional Luminous mystery?
Then I started thinking about each of the sorrows: Mary hearing the prophecy of Simeon, the Flight into Egypt, the Loss of Jesus in Jerusalem. And in these scenes I could see my life. First deciding to live as a Christian, and then realizing the challenges that would bring. Having to go outside my comfort zone as a Christian. Sometimes wondering, "where is God in my life?"
That's when I started to see how much I could learn from Mary. Now she seemed much closer, much more relatable, much more my Mother.
What else is there in these sorrows? Mary having to watch her Son suffer. Mary having to watch the world attack the Body of Christ. Mary holding Jesus while looking at the enemies of Christ- yet loving them as she loves me.
These were scenes I could see playing out around me. My son was sick and suffering. (Why, Lord?) I could see the world attacking the Church- the body of Christ. (Why?) I could start to see what I thought were enemies of Christ were really victims of the culture of death. Could I love these people as much as Mary loved the chief priests and the Roman soldiers?
I had a lot to learn from Mary.
Then I learned about the promises. When Mary gave the Seven Sorrows Rosary to St. Bridget seven-hundred years ago, she gave promises for those who reflect on these sorrows.
"I will grant them peace in their family." And as we prayed together, we experienced peace.
"They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries." I started to understand Jesus better.
"I will console them in their pains." Our whole family started to experience a profound level of consolation from God.
As we experienced these promises, and as we grew in appreciation for Our Blessed Mother, our whole family wanted to share these new "treasures of grace." This led me to write a book about the Seven Sorrows, and to pray it at our parish every week. Eventually my wife, our son, and I developed a half-day event to share this on a deeper level with others.
In less than six months I've spoken in over a dozen parishes from four states. In the next three months we'll be sharing this half-day conference five times.
There's so much more to share. I haven't even told you about four of the other promises!
But you can learn more about the book, or upcoming events.
One thing I invite you to do is add this short prayer into your daily routine and see what the Blessed Mother has in store for you!
Reflections on the Seven Sorrows
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