Our Lady of Sorrows & Archbishop Oscar Romero

July 1 - 9, 2000

General intentions: For the redemption of structures of violence, oppression, exploitation, and despair with beauty, goodness, mercy, and peace.

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The First Work of Justice and Peace: Live simply and justly in solidarity with the poor and marginalized and be a good neighbor. Make no war on them, rather, be one with them in spirit, truth, and love.

Let us pray together in peace, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, help the helpless, strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful, bring justice to the poor, peace to all nations, and solidarity among all peoples. Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy, redemption, and goodness which comes through obedience to the call of your Son our Lord. Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all who are oppressed by injustice and violence. Give us strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Our Lady of Sorrows, most holy and afflicted mother, queen of martyrs, you stood beneath the cross and witnessed the agony of your dying Son. Look down with tenderness and pity on us as we meditate on your sorrows and place our request in the sanctuary of your wounded heart.

To whom shall we have recourse in our needs and wants if not to you, mother of mercy, who drank so deeply of the chalice of your Son? To whom shall we turn if not to you, mother of sorrows, who shared in the sorrows of your Son from birth to death?

The Father who chose you to be the mother of his Son allowed the sword of sorrow to pierce you through. In the immensity of the sorrows you suffered help me to persevere and bear patiently with our present sorrow.

We pray for those who will die today because of war, economic chaos, injustice, and exploitation, especially the children. Prepare them for the agony, despair, and terror of the violence that is upon them. Comfort them and hold them close to the bosom of thy Wounded Heart as they drink deeply of the bitter cup which is forced upon them. Wipe their tears, calm their fears, welcome them to peace and safety. Eternal rest grant to them, and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, prophet of justice and peace, you stood in solidarity with the poor and oppressed even unto your own death. May your holy example strengthen us with courage and wisdom as we do the works of justice and peace, beauty and wisdom.

Thoughts for the journey during the Jubile Holy Year 2000.

Traditionally, we recall "seven sorrows of Mary": the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the three-day separation from Jesus, and four incidents along the Via Dolorosa (Mary meets Jesus on the way to the crucifixion, the crucifixion, the taking down of his body, the burial). Today many swords pierce the heart of Mary. Injustice, oppression, violence, murder -- sins and structures of sin against justice and peace. We know that within our hearts are the seeds of the problems the world faces. If we are going forward in the work of justice and peace, we must begin with an examination of our own lives. How do my sins of omission and commission create and support structures of injustice and oppression? How do I participate in and profit from the social sins of this age? What must be redeemed in my life so that I live in solidarity with those our society has pushed to the edge and further, into the abyss?

As we pray this novena, we declare peace in the War on the Poor, and resign our commissions in the Army of Injustice.

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