What’s in That Prayer? The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office of the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, otherwise known as Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15):

Deus, in cujus passióne, secúndum Simeónis prophetíam, dulcíssimam ánimam gloriósæ Vírginis et Matris Maríæ dolóris gládius pertransívit: concéde propítius; ut, qui dolóres ejus venerándo recólimus, passiónis tuæ efféctum felícem consequámur.

Here is my translation:

O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophesy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow has pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary: grant we beseech Thee, that we who recall Her venerable sorrows may arrive at the happy effects of Thy Passion.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O God, at Whose suffering the prophecy of Simeon was fulfilled, and a sword of sorrow pierced through the gentle soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary, mercifully grant that we who speak worshipfully of her woes, may obtain the saving purchase of thy suffering.

Most collects are addressed to the Father, hence the closing formula mentions the Second and Third Persons of the Holy Trinity. This is one of those relatively few collects which is directed to the Second Person of the Trinity; therefore, the closing formula is different: “Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.” Obviously, the reason we can tell right away that the Second Person is being invoked may be found in the opening words: “O God, in whose Passion…” Neither the Father nor the Holy Ghost suffered the Passion; indeed impassibility — that is, the inability to suffer — is one of the fundamental attributes of the Divine Nature. It was only in becoming Man and taking a “passible” nature that the Incarnate Logos (a Divine Person) could suffer.

By taking that passible nature from a mortal Woman, who became a willing partner in the Redemption effected by the “Last Adam,” Jesus made Mary into a “Second Eve.” Therefore could Ven. Pope Pius XII observe in Mystici Corporis Christi that “[Mary] offered Him on Golgotha to the eternal Father together with the holocaust of Her maternal rights of motherly love, like a new Eve, for all the children of Adam contaminated through his unhappy fall.”

As I have written elsewhere:

Mary’s oblation on Calvary was the consummation of her complete and active partnership with Christ, an alliance prepared in the Immaculate Conception and begun at the Annunciation. It is a standard teaching of the Fathers — St. Augustine, for one, teaches it — that the Church was born out of the pierced side of Our Lord on Good Friday. The sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist (both of which make us Christ’s mystical members) were represented by the blood and water coming from the Sacred Side. Our Lady watched this and participated in the redemption as our co-redemptrix and our spiritual mother. On Golgotha, she suffered the birth pangs she was spared in the mystery of Christmas. Giving birth to Christ was painless, but bearing us sinners — her “problem children” — was painful.

As it is only those who venerate the Mystery of the Holy Cross in faith and love that can hope to partake of its merits in Heaven, so too it is only those who venerate Mary at the foot of that same Cross who will be saved.

There, I said it.