The Desolata

The Desolata

A devotion for Good Friday Evening In honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her desolation after the death of her Divine Son


By the sealed and rock-hewn grave,

Where her Son in death is sleeping

Stands the Mother, mournful weeping

And her heart in twain is torn.

Now bereft of Him, her dearest,

All her joy in Him is dying;

Come to Mary in her sighing,

Come, ye faithful souls, and mourn.

Act of Contrition

God of infinite mercy, behold me humbly prostrate at your feet, filled with confusion for my ingratitude against your divine majesty and goodness. I fully well know that my sins were the cause that my dear Jesus died. Pity me, Lord, who ask pardon with tears, as I firmly resolve to offend you no more. And you, Mary, my sorrowful Mother, entreat forgiveness for me, and permit me to keep you company in your sorrow for the loss of your dear Son; may I weep with you and never more pierce, by my sins, your loving heart and the Heart of your Son.


Mother, my Mother desolate, I will not leave you alone to weep. I will join my tears to yours. With you I will grieve your sorrows and the death of my dear Redeemer.

Meditation I

Mary at the Holy Sepulcher

Let us meditate on the sufferings of Mary as she stands by the tomb.

Consider the desolation of Mary as she stands by the sepulcher wherein the lifeless body of her dear Son has just been laid. Let us look on that face of bitter anguish and desolation. A short time before, the sacred Body of Jesus disfigured and covered with wounds and bruises had rested in her arms! A cold stone is now between the Son and the Mother. See with what love her eyes are fixed on the tomb. Mary had shared with her Divine Son all the Sufferings of His Passion, but now she is alone in her grief, for Jesus is no more. What grief is like her grief! Let us ask ourselves who has caused all this sorrow. It is I, my Mother, it is my sins that crucified your Son. Had it not been for sin, Jesus would never have died.


O Mary, my dear Mother, with such grief do I see you weeping at the tomb of Jesus. The more I grieve that I cannot bring you any comfort, the more I stand reproved that I am the cause of your Sorrows. Blessed Mother, Mother of Mercy, have pity on me, accept the tears of a truly contrite heart, and offer them in union with those you shed at the Holy Sepulcher, to Jesus your Divine Son, that they may be accepted in expiation of past sin. Grant that I may never forget your sorrows, and never again by fresh sin crucify my loving Savior.


Seven Hail Mary’s, one Glory be, and the first verse of the Stabat Mater:

At the cross her station keeping,

Stood the mournful Mother weeping,

Close to Jesus to the last.

Most Sorrowful Virgin, pray for us.

Meditation II

Mary, in returning to her home, passes by Calvary

Let us follow Mary when she leaves the Holy Sepulcher.

St. John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, and the holy women are with her. She must pass one by one the hallowed stations of her Divine Son’s Passion. Let us meditate more especially on the sufferings of her sorrowful heart when she sees Calvary again, and the Cross on which Jesus a few hours before was crucified. She sees the ground beneath the Cross crimsoned with His

Precious Blood. She recalls the three hours of agony when she stood watching her dying Son, noting each bleeding gash of His lacerated Body, hearing the insults and blasphemies poured out against Him, seeing that chalice of humiliation, the gall and vinegar presented to His lips, listening to His last expiring words, His prayer for his enemies, and those words of bitter anguish and last farewell addressed to herself – “Behold thy son.” And Mary kneels at the foot of the Cross, and clasps again and again the hard wood, and kisses the stains of the Precious Blood which has brought salvation to her newly- adopted children.


O Mary, these words, “Behold thy son” have sunk deep into your heart and will never be forgotten by you. Have we ever realized that Christ dying for us bequeathed to us what He most prized on earth, His own beloved Mother to be ours? O Mother of Sorrows! As your life was one of continual grief, teach us like you to love the Cross; let us in our adversity share your fortitude, and if ever a day should come when we feel weighed down by trouble and grief, then let us kneel in spirit at its foot, and remembering the parting gift of our dying Lord, invoke your holy protection, and through the merits of those sufferings endured on Calvary, obtain peace of mind and resignation to the will of God. Teach us, O Blessed Mother, to love Jesus as you loved him, in suffering and humiliation, and obtain for us a true devotion to His Passion.


Seven Hail Mary’s, one Glory be and the second verse of the Stabat Mater:

 Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,

 All his bitter anguish bearing,

 Now at length the sword had passed

Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.

Meditation III

Mary desolate in her home

Let us follow Mary when she returns to the city of Jerusalem. St John has taken her to his own home. Let us enter that house and remain awhile with our Mother in her solitude.

Let us taste that feeling of utter desolation that pierces afresh her sorrowing heart. Mary is weeping bitterly, for great indeed is her affliction and sorrow. There is none now to gladden her heart, for Jesus, her joy, her comfort, and her all, is gone from her. Jesus and Mary had been companions in joy and in sorrow, and no words can express their intimate union. She has shared His poverty, His humiliations, and the agony of His Passion. She clung to Him when all others had forsaken Him, and most willingly would she have laid her head in the grave of her

Divine Son. But Jesus has departed from her, and Mary is alone, alone in her sorrow. Every action of Mary’s life was fulfilled with a view to Jesus, was directed solely by the love of Him, and was done for His eyes alone. It was this banishment from His sight, the severing of that close union with Him, that bitter separation from her Son which flooded her immaculate heart with the uttermost desolation.


Mother most loving, as I think of you in your poor home without your Son, my heart aches. O most sorrowful Mary! If ever we should be overcome by that most cruel desolation of soul, and Jesus should leave us and hide Himself, so that we can nowhere find rest or consolation in prayer, let us then turn to you, O Mother of Mercy! And invoking you by the merits of the sorrows endured in your desolation, may our past faults be pardoned, and the light of your Son’s face shine again upon our souls. Grant us, O Mother, such a tender devotion to your sorrows, and above all to the Passion of Christ which caused them that we may be more purified from sin, and finally be admitted to reign with you and your Divine Son for all eternity.

Prayer. Seven Hail Mary’s, one Glory be and the third verse of the Stabat Mater:

O how sad and sore distressed

Was that Mother highly blessed

Of the sole begotten One.

O Mother most desolate, pray for us now, and at the hour of our death.