Today we celebrate the memorial of ‘Our Lady and Sorrows and Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (19: 25-27) which tells of Mary standing at the foot of the Cross, as Jesus is crucified.
Fr Paul says this devotion to the memorial of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ flourished in the Middle Ages and it is traditionally held the day after the ‘Exaltation of the Cross’, which we celebrated yesterday. In this memorial, the focus is on the intense suffering and grief of Mary during the passion and death of her son Jesus.
For our reflection, Fr Paul shares some of the verses of the Stabat Mater, a hymn written in particular for this feast:
At the cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, all his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs; she beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep, overwhelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, she beheld her tender Child,
all with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of his own nation, saw him hang in desolation
till his spirit forth he sent.
Touch my spirit from above, make my heart with yours accord.
Loving Mother, pierce me through, in my heart each wound renew
of my Saviour crucified.
Make me feel as you have felt; make my heart to glow and melt
with the love of Christ, my Lord.
By the cross with you to stay, there with you to weep and pray,
this I ask of you to give.
Let me mingle tears with you, mourning him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.
While my body here decays, may my soul your goodness praise,
safe in heaven eternally.
Christ when you shall come and call me hence, be your mother my defence,
be your cross my victory.
Mindful of the words where we ask to stand with Mary as she grieves for her son, Fr Paul says let us stand with her in spirit and in love, giving thanks for what her son has done.