September 4, 2020

Be Our Guest / Katie Rahman

Upcoming novena reminds us Our Lady of Sorrows is also the ‘Cause of Our Joy’

Katie RahmanWhen it was suggested to me to “submerse myself in the sorrows of Mary,” my reaction was, “Why would I want to do that?” It sounded so depressing. I dismissed the idea.

A few weeks later, I mentioned it to my sister during a phone call. She asked me why I was not interested in this devotion. “I’m just not into it,” I said. “I can meditate on Jesus’ Passion ’til the cows come home. With Jesus, I don’t count the costs, but with Mary, I do.”

While I was talking, my sister had looked up online the devotion to Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows. She began reading to me the graces Mary has promised to grant to the souls who honor her through this devotion, as relayed by the Blessed Mother to St. Bridget of Sweden in the 14th century:

  • “I will grant peace to their families.”
  • “They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.”
  • “I will console them in their pains, and I will accompany them in their work.”
  • “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.”
  • “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy, and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
  • “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death. They will see the face of their Mother.”
  • “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and [sorrows] will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven, and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.”

I think it was somewhere around number five that I broke down. When my sister got done reading, she could hear me sobbing and she said with compassion, “Are we a little more into this now?”

It was God’s providence that we were having this conversation in August, since the novena is prayed on Sept. 7-15, ending on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Leading up to this feast day, like three beautiful shrines dotting a pilgrimage, are the feasts of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Sept. 8, the Most Holy Name of Mary on Sept. 12, and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14.

My initial reluctance at accompanying Mary in her pain is a very human response. Who wouldn’t choose Christmas over Advent, or Easter over Lent? With so much pain and suffering in and around us, why would we go seeking more?

Because that’s where Our Blessed Mother is. When we meet her there, she meets us as well. She meets us in our sorrow and in our pain and in our humanness.

We must always remember that Our Lady of Sorrows is also Mary, Cause of Our Joy. Our story doesn’t end at the foot of the cross. That’s where it begins.

(Katie Rahman is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Terre Haute. For more information about the Seven Sorrows of Mary, the novena prayers, the devotion and the graces revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden, go to

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