7 Sorrows of Mary and the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and I’d like to share with you how the 7 Sorrows of Mary correspond to the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Discover how the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady relate to the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

If you don’t see the video in you, you can watch it here.

And here’s the podcast version:

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It is a tradition for Catholics to say daily one Our Father and seven Hail Mary for each.


  1. The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35)
  2. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
  3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43-45)
  4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary. (Luke 23:26)
  5. Jesus Dies on the Cross. (John 19:25)
  6. Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in Her Arms. (Matthew 27:57-59)
  7. The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb. (John 19:40-42)

The Seven Sorrows of Mary also correspond to the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

  1. The Prophecy of Simeon – Fear of the Lord (Mary is explicitly reminded of her sorrowful vocation: “a sword shall pierced thy soul”)
  2. The Flight into Egypt – Piety (Mary fulfills her duties toward Joseph and Jesus in a foreign land)
  3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple – Knowledge (Mary’s knowledge of Christ’s identity as the Son of God)
  4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary – Fortitude (Mary’s strength in seeing Christ in His Passion)
  5. Jesus Dies on the Cross – Counsel (Mary is the spiritual guide and counselor for all who seek her crucified Son)
  6. Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in Her Arms – Understanding (As Mary holds the dead body of her Son, she perceives His coming resurrection)
  7. The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb – Wisdom (Christ is hidden but Mary’s soul continues to see Christ and communicate with Him)

Since Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, this should come as no surprise to us.

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  • Mark T

    Great work Dr. Marshall! Thanks for sharing! God Bless

  • Paula

    Thanks for being our guest speaker today! Homeschoolers need to know more about you! My kids, 6th and 8th, loved the class!

    • Awesome! Send along this message to your kids:

      Howdy kids. Honor your father and mother. You are blessed to have great parents. Keep loving Jesus. He will never disappoint you. Stay in faith!

  • Daniel D

    Excellent thoughts for meditation.

  • Michelle Ardini

    Thank you for this. It reminds me of how St. Augustine connected the Beatitudes with the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit which I still meditate on. Dr. Marshall, was St.Augustine the source of this connection with the Seven Sorrows of Mary?

  • NeilM

    I hope this does not upset anyone, but we may as well be properly informed. The Christian tradition has come to speak of Fear of the Lord, Piety, Knowledge, Fortitude, Counsel, Understanding and Wisdom as the “seven gifts of the Holy Spirit,” but a little biblical and historical digging shows that these are not actually the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit (actually, “gifts,” “services,” and “activities”) are listed by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (12:4-11): “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.”

    The “gifts” that we are so used to and learnt about and still learn about in confirmation class are taken from the list in the book of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 11:2) in the Hebrew Scriptures, and there are six, not seven. Isaiah is describing the qualities of the king. The child to be born, a “shoot from the stock of Jesse,” would be imbued with God’s spirit, as was King David. This was written centuries before people had the understanding of the Holy Spirit and the charisms of the Spirit which developed in the New Testament church after Pentecost and after Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit. Sad to say, it is partly thanks to St Thomas Aquinas that the New Testament charisms were expunged from popular Christian consciousness. You will notice that the second reading at Mass on Pentecost Sunday is from 1 Corinthians 12, and it leaves out Paul’s list of the gifts or charisms of the Spirit – the reading jumps from verse 7 to 12 (the Pentecostals – quite correctly – would have something to say about this! Do we Catholics not believe in the power of the Holy Spirit?) In the Summa, Aquinas lists about fourteen charisms of the Spirit, but then he and others went on to effectively replace the charisms with the six (seven?) gifts of the Spirit from the pre-Christian Isaiah. Before Aquinas, a view had already taken hold, which came to be largely accepted throughout the Christian world right down to the last century, that the gifts of the Spirit (Paul’s list) were meant only for the early Church, to “kick-start” her, so to speak. St John Chrysostom wrote towards the end of the fourth century, “In the beginning, charisms were given even to the unworthy, because the ancient period needed this help to foster the faith; but now they are not given even to the worthy because the faith is strong and firm enough not to need this support.” And so the church was left impoverished, until the charismatic renewal burst onto the scene. The Sacrament of Confirmation now exists in a state of confusion. It bears little resemblance to the way people received the Spirit and the Spirit’s gifts in the Acts of the Apostles. Mary, of course, was present at the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost.

    • Neil, while I agree with your assessment that the theology surrounding Confirmation is a mess, I think that whoever informed you about the “loss of the charismatic gifts” through the work of Thomas Aquinas was gravely mistaken.

      St Thomas treats the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit in full and affirms them. They are the gratia gratis data (“freely bestowed grace”) in his theological writings (see STh II-II, beginning at question 171 and on through 178). He never replaces them. Also, we cannot play Isaiah off Paul in 1 Corinthians (both are inspired by the Holy Spirit). They each describe a theological mystery regarding the Holy Ghost and His gifts for us – personally and for the universal Church.

  • Joan Browning

    Wish I had your class on the 7 gifts 10 yrs ago.A very close friend of mine left the Catholic Church because we had a tended a Saturday class at our parish AZ nd Mary as Co Redemptorix was brought up. My friend said nothing re this subject until 2 months later when she called to say god bye …She left bec as use she felt b r living as the priest fid in Co Redemption was very heretical. ..I tried but I could not salvage her. I could only explain the phrase TO JESUS THRU MARY which Was my means of simply trying to explain the phrase she disliked so much…She never would talk to a priest and I felt terribly lacking in my faith.
    She joined a *new* religion where Mary’s name is rarely mentioned…

  • Alphonso

    Hi Dr. Marshal and the numerous staff that make the system work, my regards. I am 74 yrs old, retired single man. I am being cared for by my friends. I am a very curious fellow, and go out to get what I want,”with the Grace of God”. They say I should have died as an infant as I was diagnosed with a strange ailment, but somehow a particular Doctor saved me. Let me just say that all through my life I have had short comings as to studies, schooling, seminary life, the Navy, various jobs, then a 25 yrs. in the Middle East working as a stores and purchasing manager for a Dutch co. I was very generous to my caretakers and never thought of my future and shared all my earnings. Many people say I am ‘too trusting or just stupid’. They care for me still and feed and shelter me. I am grateful. I have an old laptop Acer with Windows XP. I have no credit card or hard cash but I am given ‘pocket money’ monthly and I manage. That is about my personal life so far.
    I am very grateful to Chrome to have managed to get e-mails from http/https prefixed messages sometimes the ‘firewalls’ deny me access and even get a black screen as I am reading or listening to Dr. Marshal’s podcasts. Some how I mange and get what I want.
    I am very grateful for your offer of the course. I have some of my friends who are practising Catholics. But some are in ‘mixed religious’ marriages
    and very busy with their personal lifestyle. I try to approach them as I love them very much, as I have no blood relatives, they give a patient listening to me to be more active in religious practices but just ignore me or sometimes become very argumentative. That saddens me that I am not able to connect with them. But I still push on. I do pray that I will succeed to bring them back to the Church in totality. I have filed all your e-mails and podcasts.
    I am very interested to be part of the ‘course’ but I am not in a position to afford your VERY generous offer. My prayers to each one of you, your remarkable, fantastic organisation and dogged effort you all put in Our God’s Service. I am certain Our Lady is watching over you all. God be with you all.
    With my sincere Regards, I remain yours in Christ, Alphonso.