Highlights from our 2019 Walk: The Seven Sorrows of Mary

2019 First Station – the Rev’d Leigh Kern, Co-ordinator of Indigenous Ministries and Reconciliation Animator, Anglican Diocese of Toronto
Joined by Laverne Malcolm, Stevie Roberts, and Zachary Grant

Today is the day we enter into the suffering of Jesus Christ- who was Emmanuel, God with us who entered into our sufferings and sorrows. He died a death like so many prophets of love, an enemy of the state. Yet he was also the beloved child of Mary his mother.

2019 Mary
First Station: Seven Sorrows of Mary

The icon of the sorrowful mother of compassion is an ancient and powerful tradition, where people contemplate the seven sorrows of mother Mary, and her solidarity with all parents, people, and families from powers that attack the bonds of love from the community. 

Today we join in this ancient tradition, as our sorrows connect us to the heart strings of the sorrowful mother, as we stand with her as she grieves the execution of her child, we weep with her, and all parents and community members whose hearts are pierced with sorrow. 

We weep together, and our hearts bleed with her.

Following each sorrow, please join us in saying As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land.

1. The first sorrow to pierce the Mother of God was her giving birth in a barn. Pregnant Mary was forced to walk miles, and when the pangs of birth overtook her, no one would give her shelter. She had to give birth in the dirt of a stable, with no one coming to her aid.

Your suffering, O sorrowful mother is known by all who give birth in back alleys, homelessness, and poverty, without the loving and supportive hands of wise elders, friends, family, midwives, and knowledge keepers. For all who have their newborns taken against their will, for who’s experience of pregnancy and birth is traumatic. 

As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land.

2. The second sorrow of Mary is the flight to Egypt, immediately after Jesus’ birth, the king was threatened by the birth of Jesus, and sent out a rule to kill all recently born babies. Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus had to flee as refugees and leave their home. 

Your fear, O Mother of tears, is known by all who have had to flee with children from war, violence, and chaos, we hold before your compassionate heart all parents and families who must make scary journeys, for all LGBTQ youth and youth who flee unsafe homes, for all children detained at borders, for all refugee parents who grieve children injured or killed on the flight from terror…

As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land.

2019 Mary walks

3. The third sorrow of Mary is the loss of Jesus, when he went missing on their trip to Jerusalem. 

Mary’s trembling, is felt by all who have had their children taken from their loving arms by Children’s Aid Society, RCMP, and Residential School officials. We lift before your loving arms the anxiety and fear of all whose loved ones are missing…

As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land.

4. The fourth sorrow of Mary is Jesus’ arrest.

The horror of having your child incarcerated O Mother of God, is known across this land, as beloved people are policed and stolen from community and held in jails, prisons, foster care, and detention centres. We grieve the torture of human beings by their confinement, removal from community, and forced isolation in incarceration. Our hearts breaks for all the young parents who are in prison and only meet their newborn children over Skype calls at Toronto South Detention Centre, our hearts break for all parents separated from their children serving sentences, and all communities splintered by the police and prison state…

As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land.

5. The fifth sorrow of Mary is seeing her son die on the cross. 

She stands by his side, she will not look away, her tears fall in the earth as her son’s blood flows. She witnesses the crowds mock her son, plus the soldiers laugh and torture him.

Her agony is the agony of all who witness their loved ones suffer at the hands of the powerful, for all who are abused, for all who are tortured and executed, for all whose loved ones have been murdered.

As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land. 

6. The sixth sorrow of Mary is taking Jesus off the cross, receiving the dead body of her son into her arms.

We hear her cries as she bitterly wails, holding his cold, broken body. 

We pray for all who have had this dreadful experience, for all who have found loved ones died by suicide, for all who have held their loved ones, taken too soon… for all who live with the trauma of death…

As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land.

7. The seventh sorrow of Mary is the burial of her son.

We pray for all who stand over the grave of one’s stolen from our circles of love and relationship. For the children who died at Residential Schools, whose bodies lay in unmarked graves, for all who have died in the overdose crisis, for all missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two spirit people, for the families who search for their loved ones who they never got to bury, for all who mourn…

As your tears fall from heaven, and your heart of compassion is pierced, may justice reign in this land.

(close with the travelling song)