For Lent, Repent
This year, the liturgical calendar gives us a special preparation for Lent. On Fat Tuesday, Feb. 17, the Church commemorates the Seven Founders of the Servite Order, and on Feb. 18, we keep Ash Wednesday, the very start of Lent.
Now, one of the great treasures passed on through the Servite order is the Seven Sorrows Rosary, a devotion that Our Lady requested be revived when she appeared to schoolchildren in Kibeho, Rwanda, in the 1980s.
The Seven Sorrows are based on Scriptural events in the lives of Jesus and Mary that reveal Mary's sufferings.
The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (also known as the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows) is prayed on special rosary beads that are divided into seven sets of seven, with three concluding beads. Each set of seven begins with announcing one of the Sorrows, an Our Father, then seven Hail Marys. At the end, on the three remaining beads of the chaplet, three Hail Marys are said in honor of the Tears of Our Sorrowful Mother. Full instructions here.
While this Seven Sorrows Rosary should never replace the traditional Rosary in our prayer life, it can be a great addition. She made a special promise to everyone who would pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary, saying, "If you say the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows and meditate on it well, you will find the strength you need to repent of your sins and convert your heart. Pray my Seven Sorrows to find repentance."
What a perfect way to celebrate Lent! The 40 days leading up to Easter are meant to be a special time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in order to reform our lives, get rid of sin, and prepare ourselves to celebrate Easter with our hearts open as wide as possible to all the graces God offers us through the Incarnation of His Son, Jesus. This devotion, with Mary's special promise of graces to help us repent of our sins and convert our hearts, is an ideal way to fight the world, the flesh, and the devil for these 40 days of Lent. Let's consider making a Lenten resolution to say the Seven Sorrows Rosary every day during Lent for our own conversion and in reparation for our sins.
The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception have a house in Kibeho and have taken up the task of promoting devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary as part of an authentic Marian spirituality.
To learn more about Our Lady's apparitions in Rwanda, see here.