7. The Burial of Jesus
I pity you, my afflicted mother, on account of the seventh sword that pierced your heart, on seeing in your arms your Son who had just expired, no longer fair and beautiful as you did once receive him in the stable of Bethlehem, but covered with blood, livid, and lacerated by wounds which exposed his very bones. "My Son," you said, "my Son, to what has love brought you?" And when he was borne to the sepulcher, you did wish to accompany him yourself, and help to put him in the tomb with your own hands; and, bidding him a last farewell, you have left your loving heart buried with your Son. By all the anguish of your pure soul, obtain for me, oh mother of fair love, pardon for the offences that I have committed against my God, whom I love, and of which I repent with my whole heart. I beg you to defend me in every temptation. Assist me at the hour of my death, that, being saved by the merits of Jesus and yours, I may come one day with your aid, after this miserable exile, to sing in paradise the praises of Jesus and yours through all eternity. Amen.

On the Seventh Sorrow - The Burial of the Body of Jesus

(Taken from ‘The Glories of Mary’ by Saint Alphonsus Liguori)

When a mother is by the side of a suffering and dying child, she no doubt then feels and suffers all his pains. But when the afflicted child is really dead and about to be buried, and the sorrowful mother takes her last leave of him, then, oh! the thought that she is to see him no more is a sorrow that exceeds all other sorrows.

Behold, the last sword of sorrow which we are to consider - when Mary, after being present at the death of Her Son upon the cross, after having embraced His lifeless body, was finally to leave Him in the sepulcher, never more to enjoy His beloved presence.

But that we may better understand this last sorrow, let us return to Calvary, again to look upon the afflicted Mother, who still holds, clasped in Her arms, the lifeless body of Her Son.

Oh my Son, She seems then to continue to say in the words of Job, my Son, Thou art changed to be cruel towards Me. Yes, for all Thy beauty, grace, virtue, and loveliness, all the signs of special love Thou hast shown Me, the singular favors Thou hast bestowed on Me, are all changed into so many darts of sorrow, which the more they have in flamed My love for Thee, so much the more do they cause me cruelly to feel the pain of having lost Thee.

Ah, my beloved Son, in losing Thee I have lost all. St. Bernard speaks in Her name, "Oh truly begotten of God, You were to Me a Father, a son, a spouse; You were my life! Now I am deprived of My Father, My spouse, and My Son, for with My Son whom I have lost, I lose all things."

In this was Mary, clinging to Her Son, dissolved in grief. The holy disciples, fearing that this poor Mother would expire there through agony, went to take the body of Her Son from Her arms, to bear it away for burial. And so, with reverential force they took Him from Her arms, and having embalmed Him, wrapped Him in a linen cloth already prepared. Upon this cloth our Lord wished to leave to the world His image impressed, as may be seen at the present day in Turin, Italy.

Prayers and Meditations
And now they bear Jesus to the sepulcher. The sorrowful funeral procession begins. The disciples place Him on their shoulders, hosts of angels from Heaven accompany Him, the holy women follow Him, and the afflicted Mother follows and goes with Her Son to the grave.

When they had reached the appointed place, how gladly would Mary have stayed there with Her Son! "Oh how willingly," said the Virgin to St. Bridget, "would I have remained there alive with my Son, if it had been His will!" But since this was not the Divine Will, Mary accompanied the sacred body of Jesus into the sepulcher, and they deposited the nails and the crown of thorns.

In raising the stone to close the sepulcher, the disciples of the Savior had to turn to the Virgin, and say to Her, "Now, oh Lady, we must close the sepulcher. Have patience, look upon Thy Son, and leave of Him for the last time."

"Then, oh my beloved Son," must the afflicted Mother have said, "then shall I see Thee no more? Receive then, this last time that I look upon Thee, receive the last farewell from Me Thy dear Mother, and receive My Heart which I leave buried with Thee."

The Virgin earnestly desired that Her soul should be buried with the body of Christ. Mary Herself made this revelation to St. Bridget: "I can truly say, that at the burial of My Son, one sepulcher contained as it were two Hearts."

Finally, the stone is taken and closes up in the holy sepulcher the body of Jesus, that great treasure, greater than any in Heaven and on earth. And here Mary left Her Heart buried with Jesus, because Jesus was all Her treasure: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

And where shall we keep our hearts buried? With creatures? In the mire? And why not with Jesus, Who, although He has ascended to Heaven, has wished to remain not dead but alive, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, precisely so that He may possess and have with Him our hearts?

But let us return to Mary. Before leaving the place of the sepulcher, She blessed that sacred stone, saying: Oh happy stone, that doth now enclose that body which was contained nine months in my womb, I bless Thee, and envy Thee. I leave Thee to guard My Son for me, who is My only good, My only love.

And then turning to the Eternal Father, She said: Oh Father, to Thee I recommend Him, who is Thy Son and Mine; and thus bidding a last farewell to Her Son, and to the sepulcher, She returned to Her own house.

This poor Mother went away so afflicted and sad that She moved many to tears even against their will. Wherever She passed, all who met Her wept and could not restrain their tears. And the holy disciples and the holy women who accompanied Her mourned for Her even more than for their Lord.

St. Bonaventure says, that Her two sisters covered Her with a mourning cloak. The sisters of Our Lady wrapped Her in a veil as a widow, covering as it were Her whole countenance. And he also says, that on Her return, as She was passing before the cross, still wet with the blood of Her Jesus, Mary was the first to venerate it.

"Oh Holy Cross," She exclaimed, "I kiss Thee and adore Thee; for Thou art no longer an infamous wood, but a throne of love, and an altar of mercy, consecrated by the blood of the Divine Lamb, who has been sacrificed upon thee, for the salvation of the world."

She then leaves the cross and returns to Her house. There the afflicted Mother casts Her eyes around, and no longer sees Her Jesus. Instead of the presence of Her dear Son, all the memorials of His holy life and cruel death are before Her.

There She is reminded of the embraces She gave her Son in the stable of Bethlehem, of the conversations had with Him for so many years in the shop of Nazareth. She is reminded of their mutual affection, of His loving looks, of the words of Eternal Life that came forth from that Divine Mouth.

And then before Her comes the fatal scene of that very day. She sees those nails, those thorns, that lacerated flesh of Her Son, those deep wounds, those uncovered bones, that open mouth, those closed eyes. Alas! What a night of sorrow was that night for Mary!

The sorrowful Mother turned to St. John, and said mournfully: Ah, John, where is Your master? Then She asked Magdalene: Daughter, tell me where is Your Beloved? Oh God ! who has taken Him from us? Mary weeps, and all those who are with Her weep.

And you, oh my soul, do you not weep? Ah, turn to Mary, and say to Her, "Let me, oh my Lady, let me weep. Thou art innocent, I am guilty." At least entreat Her to permit you to weep with Her. She weeps for love, and you weep through sorrow for your sins.


My afflicted Mother, I will not leave Thee alone to weep. No, I wish to keep Thee company with my tears. This grace I ask of Thee today: obtain for me a continual remembrance of the Passion of Jesus, and of Thine also, and a tender devotion to them, that all the remaining days of my life may be spent in weeping for Thy sorrows, oh my Mother, and for those of my Redeemer.

I hope that these sorrows will give me the confidence and strength not to despair at the hour of my death, at the sight of the offenses I have committed against my Lord. By these must I obtain pardon, perseverance, paradise, where I hope to rejoice with Thee, and sing the infinite mercy of my God through all eternity. For this do I hope, may it be so. Amen, amen.

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