1) With meditations by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Each set begins with the meditations noted below and concludes with 1 Our Father, 7 Hail Marys and the Strophe.
My Mother, share thy grief with me, and let me bear thee company to mourn thy Jesus' death with thee.
I pity thee, O afflicted Mother, on account of the 1st sword of sorrow which pierced thee, when in the Temple all the outrages which men would inflict on thy beloved Jesus were presented before thee by St. Simeon, and which thou didst already know by the Sacred Scriptures; outrages which were to cause Him to die before thine eyes, on an infamous Cross, exhausted of His blood, abandoned by all, and thyself unable to defend or help Him. By that bitter knowledge, then, which for so many years afflicted thy heart, I beseech thee, my Queen, to obtain for me the grace that during my life and at my death I may ever keep the Passion of Jesus and thy sorrows impressed upon my heart.
I pity thee, my afflicted Mother, for the 2nd sword which pierced thee, when soon after His birth thou didst behold thine innocent Son threatened with death by those very men for whose salvation He had come into the world, so that in the darkness of night thou was obliged to fly secretly with Him into Egypt. By the many hardships, then, which thou, a delicate young woman, in company with thine exiled Child, didst endure in so long and fatiguing a journey through rough and desert countries, and during thy residence in Egypt, where, being unknown and a strange, thou didst live for so many years in poverty and contempt - I beseech thee, my beloved Lady, to obtain for me the grace to suffer in thy company with patience until death the trials of this miserable life, that I may thus in the next escape the eternal punishments of Hell, which I have deserved.
I pity thee, my sorrowful Mother, on account of the 3rd sword which pierced thee in the loss of thy dear Son Jesus, who remained absent from thee in Jerusalem for 3 days. No longer seeing thy Beloved by thy side and not knowing the cause of His absence, I can well imagine, my loving Queen, that during those nights thou didst not repose and didst only sigh for Him, who was all thy treasure. By the sighs, then, of those 3 days, for thee too long and bitter, I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace that I may never lose my God, that so, always clinging to Him, I may leave the world united to Him.
I pity thee, my sorrowful Mother, for the 4th sword which pierced thee in seeing thy Son condemned to death, bound with cords and chains, covered with blood and wounds, crowned with a wreath of thorns, falling under the heavy weight of the Cross which He carried on His wounded shoulders, going as an innocent Lamb to die for love of us. Thine eyes met His, and His met thine; and thy glances were as so many cruel arrows which wounded thy loving hearts. By this great sorrow, then, I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace to live in all things resigned to the will of my God and to carry my cross cheerfully in company with Jesus, until my last breath.
I pity thee, my afflicted Mother, for the 5th sword which pierced thee, when on Mount Calvary thou didst behold thy beloved Son Jesus slowly dying before thine eyes, amid so many torments and insults, on that hard bed of the Cross, where thou couldst not administer to Him even the least of those comforts which are granted to the greatest criminals at the hour of death. I beseech thee by the agony which thou, my most loving Mother, didst endure, together with thy dying Son, and by the sadness which thou didst feel when, for the last time, He spoke to thee from the Cross and bade thee farewell and left all of us in the person of St. John to thee as thy children; by that constancy with which thou didst then see Him bow down His head and expire, I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace from thy crucified Love to live and die crucified to all earthly things, that I may spend my life for God alone and thus one day enter Paradise to enjoy Him face to face.
I pity thee my afflicted Mother, for the 6th sword which pierced thee when thou didst see the sweet heart of thy Son pierced through and through. He was already dead and had died for those ungrateful creatures who, even after His death, were not satisfied with the torments they had inflicted upon Him. By this cruel sorrow, then which was all thine, I beseech thee to obtain for me the grace to dwell in the heart of Jesus, wounded and opened for me; in that heart, I say, which is the beautiful abode of love, in which all souls who love God repose; and that, living there, I may never think of or love anything but God. Most sacred Virgin, thou canst obtain this for me; from thee do I hope for it.
I pity thee, my afflicted Mother, for the 7th sword which pierced thee on seeing thy Son already dead in thy arms, no longer fair and beautiful as thou didst receive Him in the stable of Bethlehem, but covered with blood, livid and all lacerated with wounds, so that even His bones were seen; thou didst then say, "My Son, my Son, to what has love reduced Thee!" And when He was borne to the sepulcher, thou wouldst thyself accompany Him and place Him with thine own hands in the tomb; and bidding Him thy last farewell, thou didst leave thy loving heart buried with thy Son. By this martyrdom of thy beautiful soul, do thou obtain for me, O Mother of Fair Love, the forgiveness of the offences which I have committed against my beloved God, and which I repent with my whole heart. Do thou defend me in temptations; do thou assist me at the moment of my death, that, saving my soul through the merits of Jesus and thee, I may one day, after this miserable exile, go to Paradise to sing the praises of Jesus and of thee for all eternity. Amen.
O God, at whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow didst pierce through the most sweet sould of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary, grant that we who commemorate and reverence her dolors may experience the blessed effect of Thy Passion, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
2) The Seven Joys:
3. Birth of Jesus in a cave in Bethlehem
4. Adoration of the Magi
5. Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
6. Apparition of the Risen Christ to His Blessed Mother
7. Repose of the Blessed Virgin Mary and His Coronation of Mary and all the Saints