O MARY, Mother of God and Mother of men, Virgin full of love and compassion, Mother of the orphans, Comfort of the afflicted, Way of the wandering, the Help of all that hope in thee, Fount of mercy, of health and grace, of consolation and joy; by the ineffable joy thou didst experience, when the Son of God became incarnate in thy holy womb, and by the ineffable treasures of grace and sanctity He laid in thy soul during those happy days when He dwelt in thee; by the deep compassion and most bitter grief thou didst feel, when thou didst see Him scoured and crowned with thorns, led to Calvary, nailed to the cross, parched with thirst given gall to drink, crying with a loud voice, My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me? And again crying with a loud voice and yielding up the ghost: by the bitter Passion of thy Son, by His Five Wounds, by His most precious Blood shed to the last drop, by all the sufferings of thy heart and the torrents of tears thou didst shed from thine eyes; deign I beseech thee to come to my assistance all the days of my life to guide and help me in all my thoughts words, and actions, in all my prayers and petitions, in all my wants and necessities. Deign, I beseech thee, to obtain for me, from thy loving Son Jesus Christ, mercy and consolation, counsel and assistance, peace and prosperity, the necessaries of life, abundance of spiritual goods, and perfection in all virtues. Implore for me the Holy Ghost that He may purify me from my sins, help me to amend my life, and preserve me for the future. May He always dwell in my soul as in His temple and guard it for ever, inspire me with holy thought, and sanctify all my actions, increase in me the virtues of faith, hope and charity, grant me His precious seven gifts and His twelve fruits! May the blessed Trinity graciously hear my prayer, grant my petition and give me eternal life! Do thou, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of mercy, do thou intercede for me, and obtain from His infinite goodness all these graces and treasures. Amen
FOR A PARTICULAR GRACE
O MOST blessed and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs, who didst stand generously beneath the cross, beholding the agony of thy dying Son; by the sword of sorrow which then pierced thy soul, by the continual sufferings of thy sorrowful life, by the unutterable joy which now far more than repays thee for them; look down with a mother's pity and tenderness, as I kneel before thee to compassionate thy sorrows, and to lay my petition with childlike confidence in thy wounded heart. I beg of thee, O my Mother to plead continually for me with thy Son, since He can refuse thee nothing, and through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with thy own sufferings at the foot of the cross, so to touch His sacred Heart, that I may obtain my request. For to whom shall I fly in my wants and miseries, if not to thee, O Mother of mercy, who having so deeply drunk the chalice of thy Son, canst most pity us poor exiles still doomed to sigh in this vale of tears? Offer to Jesus but one drop of His precious Blood, but one pang of His adorable Heart; remind Him that thou art our life, our sweetness, and our hope and thou wilt obtain what I ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
FOR MARY'S ASSISTANCE
O MOTHER of Sorrows, given us from the cross to be our Mother thou who didst behold the drops of the precious Blood falling to the ground, remember the Sorrow which then overwhelmed thee as the waves of the sea, and which far exceeded any sorrow ever borne by any creature. Now that it is well with thee and having entered into thy joys thou sittest at the right hand of thy Son for evermore remember to speak food for us, thy sorrowful children who still wander in this vale of tears. Mother of Sorrows, plead for us with the Father, intercede for us with the Son, pray for us to the Holy Ghost, that after the time of our penance, we may behold the Face of thy Divine Son, and dwell with Him for ever in eternal joy. Amen.
FOR RESIGNATION IN TRIBULATION
O MARY, Queen of Martyrs, Mother of God, and my most loving Mother, humbly prostrate at thy feet, I dedicate myself to the compassion of thy sorrowful heart, which was plunged into such an abyss of woe and humiliation, and at the same time was such a prodigy of meekness, of patience, of charity, and of all virtues. O beloved Mother, this sacrifice of thy heart was offered to show me the inestimable price of humiliations, to teach me that I too must take up my cross and follow thy Jesus in the way of suffering which is the true way to heaven. Alas! Until now I understood it not, and instead of following Jesus, I separated myself from Him, to run after honors and pleasures. Henceforward it shall not be so; I will follow Him, bearing whatever cross He may be pleased to send me; I will imitate thee, the true model of invincible patience; I will accept tribulations with Jesus and thee, to be united with Him crucified and with thee and that the more because my sins were the cause of thy suffering and His.
But thou knowest my enemies never cease3 from attacking me and laying snares before me to lead me astray from the royal way of the cross. Do thou, therefore, O tender Mother strengthen me, sustain me, and ever keep before me both thy sufferings and the example of they fortitude. Obtain for me that I may ever have a lively faith, a firm hope, and n ardent charity, and that, being comforted by the remembrance of thy sorrows, I may willingly accept the chalice of my tribulations, thus faithfully and cheerfully to accompany Jesus in His sufferings. And in the great passage from time to eternity, do thou assist me in a special manner; deign to come with Jesus to mine aid; obtain for me that I may invoke thine and His sweet name, saying with my lips and my heart, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I die with you in peace.” Amen
TO OUR LADY CONSOLER OF THE AFFLICTED
O MARY IMMACULATE, dear Moth of consolation, I take refuge in thy very tender heart with all the confidence of which I am capable. Thou must be the most treasured object of my love and veneration. To thee who art the dispenser of heaven's treasures, I must always have recourse in all my troubles to find peace, in all my doubts, to fin light in my dangers, to find protection in all my needs, to obtain help. Be then, O Mary, my consolation, my refuge, my strength, my remedy in distress. Be pleased at the hour of my death, to receive the last sighs of my heart and secure for me a place in that heavenly abode where all are united in praising eternally the adorable Heart of Jesus, together with that ever loving heart of thine.
O Mary who art thyself His Mother, consoler of the afflicted, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CROSS
THY whole life, O Virgin Mother, was one continual suffering. When as yet a child, thou didst weep over the torments of the promised Messiah, of which thou didst read in the prophets; when told by the Angel that thou wert to be His Mother, the future scenes of torture appeared still more vividly to thy mind and thy heart endured cruel anguish. Thy sorrow was still increased when holy Simeon foretold to thee that thy Son was set for a sign which should be contracted and that a sword should pierce thine own soul. Now was it long before the prophecy began to be verified for thou hadst to fly into Egypt to save the Child from Herod, who was seeking to destroy Him. And in Egypt thy heart, so burning with divine love, was daily filled with mortal grief at the sight of the people plunged in the most abject degradation, prostituting to shameful deities the homages due to God alone.
Nor did thy suffering cease with thy return to thy country; for thy beloved Son who gives food to the lowest insects, has to suffer with thee and Joseph all the privations of poverty; and when He left thee making the experience to some extent what it is to be forsaken by God, with what sorrow didst thou seek Him for three long days! Later, during His public life, thy pain continued to increase because notwithstanding His wonderful miracles, His heavenly doctrine, and His holy actions, he was made the object of insults, calumnies, contradictions, and hatred.
But thy Dolor reached its height, when thou didst see Him goaded on by His enemies, scourged, crowned with thorns, laden with a heavy cross, nailed to it, agonizing for three hours, and expiring in the most excruciating torments. Thou wert then truly crucified with thy Son; for the wounds, made by the scourges, the thorns, and the nails on His sacred body, were united in thy heart; and whilst He was offering a bloody sacrifice on the altar of the cross, thou wert offering an unbloody, but most painful one, in thy soul.
O most sorrowful Mother, at last thy sufferings must have ended with the death of Jesus, or, at least, after His resurrection. But no; for even to the end of thy life the wound inflicted on thy heart by the sword of sorrow never healed; it was constantly kept open by the remembrance of the sad scenes of the Passion of Jesus, by the sight of the places of His torments. Truly thou canst say with thy Son, “O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow;” and again, “My life is wasted with grief and my years in sighs.”
But if thou, O my sovereign Lady, though so holy and without spot, hadst to suffer so much, what will become of me, who, though I have so many times offended Jesus, shun suffering? Thy divine Son Himself “ought to have suffered and so to enter into His glory.” Can I, then, hope to go to heaven if I will not suffer? O Mary, whose life was a long martyrdom, do thou look upon me with mercy and compassion. I know that it is necessary for me to take up my cross, if I wish to be a disciple of Jesus; but my weakness, ever so great, seems to increase yet more, when I have to face pain and sorrow.
Obtain, then, for me a part of that love, stronger than death, which burned in thee, that, enkindled by it, I may overcome all obstacles and courageously embrace suffering. Do even more, O my tender Mother, and teach me the incomparable worth of the cross, since it is by the cross that thy Jesus conquered His enemies, triumphed over death, and opened to us the gates of heaven. Henceforward, O Mother of Dolors, animated by thy spirit, the cross shall be my glory, my joy, my life; with it will I live, upon it will I die. Happy me, if at the end of my life I could say like thee, “With Christ I have been nailed to the cross!”
FOR THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS
O MOST afflicted Mother, how much thou didst suffer at the foot of the cross, what burning tears thou didst shed for the salvation of mankind and the conversion of sinners! For them thou didst offer thyself to torments and to death in union with our loving Redeemer. We then, with unbounded confidence, call upon thee in behalf of poor sinners. By the most precious Blood of Jesus shed to the last drop, by thine own bitter tears, by the sword which pierced thy soul, implore for them grace that may touch their hearts and bring them to true repentance. Remember, O sorrowful Virgin, that the first words of Jesus on the cross were to implore forgiveness for His executioners--that is, all sinners,--and to promise Paradise to the penitent Thief. Pray, then, the Eternal Father to forgive them, and to move their hearts to compunction. Remember that with His dying voice Jesus gave us to thee to be thy sons, and thee to us to be our Mother; and that he cried out, “I thirst,” to manifest how much He was consumed with the thirst of souls. Listen, O sorrowful Mother, listen to the voice of thy dying Son: show thyself a mother to poor sinners, though they have been ungrateful sons: do not permit them to perish for ever, but quench the thirst of Jesus, but bringing them back to Him. Pray for sinners, O Mary, offer for them thy tears and sorrows, and lead them all to the loving Heart of thy dying Son. Amen.
TO AVERT THE ANGER OF GOD
O MOTHER of Sorrows, who from thy very infancy didst most ardently wish that the time of the redemption of mankind might be hastened and who, when become the Mother of God didst with admirable heroism offer for death thy only Son and thyself with Him, that the reign of sin might be destroyed; look down, we entreat thee, on this miserable world, and see how prevalent iniquity is everywhere, and how many unfortunate souls are bound with the chains of sin. The flood of infidelity, blasphemy, and immorality is rising daily, and seems as if it would submerge the whole world. How dreadful are the chastisements we may fear! How terrible the divine vengeance will be! How awful to bear the wrath with which thy Jesus will be moved against those who insult and reject Him! O most blessed Virgin, have compassion on us, intercede for us; do not forsake thy mission of reconciliation, but show that thou art still most anxious to save sinners. Stand in the sight of thy divine Son to speak good for them, and to turn away His indignation from them. Remind Him that for them He Himself shed His most precious Blood to the last drop, and ended His life in the most excruciating torments; remind Him of the anguish, the desolation, the agony of thine Immaculate Heart. Will He resist thy prayers, thy supplications, thy sights? No! He will be moved to mercy, and in the excess of His love will pour down the abundance of His graces to soften the hearts of hardened sinners. Then filled with sorrow, will they shed tears of compunction and return to their Lord; then iniquity will cease, faith, and religion , and purity will flourish again and a canticle of praises to the God of mercies, and of gratitude to thee our most loving Mother, will be raised from all parts of the earth. Amen.
FOR HOLY CHURCH
O MARY, Mother of the universal Church, who didst consent to remain in exile upon earth after the Ascension of thy divine Son, and the long years to be deprived of His visible presence, that thou mightest be the guide, the mistress and the loving Mother of the infant Church, do thou no as ever extend upon her thy maternal care. Thou seest the persecution to which she is exposed, the danger of her children, the tribulations of her pastors. Remember the last words of thy dying Son by which He gave thee to us to be our Mother, and deign to protect us, the children of thy sorrow, that none of us may be lost, but all may remain steadfast in the true faith and the practice of virtues. Let thy maternal compassion extend also to those unfortunate children of thine, to those nations witch have denied thy Son's Vicar and fallen into schism and heresy, that they may be brought back to the true Church and lovingly submit to Peter, the Shepherd appointed by Christ. Have pity also on those children of thine, still more unfortunate, who know not thy Son, the light and life of the world; may thy supplications and tears move the bowels of divine mercy, that He hay enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death! Oh! May all the Catholics, through thy powerful intercession, remain faithful to their God and their Mother the Church! May all the stray sheep be brought back to the fold! May all heathens walk in the light of the new Jerusalem, that all may know, and love, and serve, and bless thy divine Son for ever and ever! Amen
FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND PERSEVERANCE
BEHOLD me at thy feet, O sorrowful Virgin, full of grief and confusion; for I am one of those cruel executioners who by turning a deaf ear to the voice of divine grace and following the dictates of the flesh and the world, have crucified thy innocent Son, and caused thee so much pain and anguish. Full well do I now understand my past ingratitude and iniquity. God called me, and I fled from Him; He lovingly offered me His graces and gifts, and I despised them for the vanities, and pleasures of the world. But now, O Mary, moved by the thought of the pain my sins have caused thee, I renounce sin for ever, and will begin a new life. Most cruel indeed should I be, if I did not shed a tear, or heave a sigh, at the sight of thy great sorrow !
But, O most afflicted Mother, I know my weakness, and the inconstancy of my will frightens me. In the midst of so many dangers, surrounded by so many enemies, how can I hope to remain firm and constant? Truly, if I only looked to myself, I should be discouraged. But when I think of thee and of what thou hast suffered for me, then hope and confidence fills my heart. Do thou, therefore, who art so powerful with God, assist me, defend me, strengthen me. Obtain for my mind light firmly to adhere to divine truth, for my will strength always to tend toward virtue, for my heart love God, that I may find no delight but in Him alone. And since nobody can have a share in the glory of thy divine Son, unless he follows Him in His bitter Passion, obtain for me a share in thy anguish, thy pains, thy sorrows. Thus shall I become a true follower of Jesus; and thou wilt have the joy of having added one more soul to those who will praise and bless Him for ever. Amen.
FOR SINCERE CONTRITION
O VIRGIN, all burning with love, O Mary Mother of Dolors, I am most unworthy to stand in thy presence; but when I remember that thou art the Mother of mercy, the Comforter of the afflicted, the Treasurer of divine graces, I feel confidence revived in my heart. I therefore have recourse to thee with all the power and affection of my soul, hoping to obtain what I come to ask thee, namely, a true contrition for my many sins and my great ingratitude, a deep sorrow for having offended my Jesus, who has never ceased to load me with favors, since He created me. Obtain for me, O tender Mother, that my sorrow for having lost divine grace may be like to that which thou didst feel, when thou didst lose thy beloved Son; pierce my ungrateful heart with that sharp sword with which thine own was transfixed at the foot of the cross; implore for me the frequent remembrance of death, that I may always keep before me the sense of my nothingness, and final perseverance, that I may die the death of the just. Remember, O my beloved Mother, that if I obtain these graces through thy intercession, I shall here below be more faithful to thy beloved Son, thus giving joy to thy heart, and shall one day be with thee in the kingdom of heaven, there to bless thee and thy divine Son for ever. From thee I ask these favors, O my loving Mother; through thee I expect them; in thee I place my trust because thou art the Mother of my Saviour. Amen. – MARY DOMINICA BARBAGLI, a Servite Tertiary of Bologna.
FOR TRUE CONTRITION AND A GOOD DEATH
O MY afflicted Mother, Queen of martyrs and of sorrows, thou didst so bitterly weep over thy Son, who died for my salvation ! But what will thy tears avail me, if I am lost? By the merit, then, of thy sorrows, obtain for me true contrition for my sins, and a real amendment of life, together with a constant and tender compassion for the sufferings of thy Jesus and thine own Dolors. And if Jesus and thou, being so innocent, have suffered so much for love of me, obtain that I, who am deserving of hell, may at least suffer something for your love. O Lady, will I say with Saint Bonaventure, if I have offended thee, in justice wound my heart; if I have served thee, I now ask wouldst for my reward; for it is shameful to me to see my Lord Jesus wounded and thee wounded with Him, and myself without a wound.
Another grace, O my Mother, will I implore of thy goodness. By the grief thou didst experience in seeing thy Son bow down His head, and expire on the cross in the midst of so many torments, I beseech thee, obtain for me a good death. Ah, cease not, most gracious Advocate and Refuge of sinners, cease not to help my afflicted soul in the midst of the combats it will have to sustain on its great passage from time to eternity. And since I may then have lost my speech and have no strength to invoke thy holy name and that of Jesus, in whom is all my hope, I do so now; I entreat thy Son and thee to succor me in that last moment, and say: Jesus and Mary, to you I commend my soul. Amen. –SAINT ALPHONSUS.
FOR A HAPPY DEATH
O SWEETEST Mother of Jesus, Virgin Mary, our loving Mother by thy tender mercy assist me, a poor sinner, before my last day, lest being surprised by death, I should appear unprepared before my eternal Judge. Pray for me, O blessed Virgin, I beseech thee by the bitter Passion and Death of thy beloved Son Jesus, that I may have a true sorrow for my sins, and renounce forever the devil and his works, may make a humble and sincere confession, offer my God abundant satisfaction, and worthily receive my Saviour in the holy Eucharist, and thus be ready to pass away from this world perfectly reconciled with thy divine Son. Show me thy tender love, O blessed Virgin Mary, in that tremendous hour, when life shall abandon me by degrees, and my tongue shall no more be able to invoke thee and Jesus, nor mine eyes to see thy image, nor my ears to perceive any sound. Be then mindful, O compassionate Mother, of the prayer I now offer thee, defend me against the fury of the enemies of my salvation, assist me lovingly, when I breathe my last, that I may be saved, as is promised to all thy devout servants, and may be for ever among the number of the friends of thy Son Jesus. AMEN
O MARY, Refuge of sinners, my sweet Mother, by the sorrow thou didst experience, when thou didst witness the agony and death of thy divine Son on the cross, mercifully intercede for me, I entreat thee, when my soul is about to leave this world; drive away all evil spirits, come to take my soul, and to present it to the eternal Judge. Queen of Heaven, do not abandon thy child: next to Jesus thou wilt be my comfort in that dread hour. Ask thy Son to grant, in His infinite mercy, that I may die embracing His holy feet, kissing His sacred Wounds, and saying with my last breath: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.” Amen.
Hail Mary, seven times
A Shorter Form
MOST holy Mother of Sorrows, by the cruel martyrdom thou didst suffer at the foot of the cross, during the three hours thy Jesus was in agony; deign to assist us all, the children of thy Dolors, in our last agony, that by thy prayers we may pass from our deathbed to Paradise, there to form thy heavenly crown for ever.
Hail Mary, thrice
O Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, do thou protect us from the enemy, and receive us at the hours of death.