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Stabet Mater Dolorosa (catholic/orthodox caucus)
The Anchoress ^ | 4/16/2011 | Elizabeth Scalia

Posted on 04/16/2011 12:16:03 PM PDT by markomalley

Mary’s role in the life of the church, in the Christian experience did not end with the deliverance of her placenta and the taking of her ritual bath. Rather, Mary – The Mother – walked with and monitored every part of her son’s life (as mothers do) and his ministry. Far from being a toss-off, a mere minor player in the story of Christ and the Christian experience, Mary’s life is as entwined with Christ’s at his death as it was when he was living and growing inside her body. Her life is entwined in the whole of the story of Salvation.

She was there when Christ was found, talking with great wisdom with the elders; she raised an eyebrow at him and we can imagine the mixture of relief and fear when she found him: “your father and I have been worried sick, now you get over here and don’t take off on your own like that again!”

She was there at Cana, tugging at his sleeve and saying, “hey, these people have a need, please help them…” and to the waiters, “do as he tells you…”

She was there as he preached, and as he was arrested and tortured, and as he carried his cross. She was there –- not running away –- broken, yet completely faithful, as he died before her eyes, after telling her that her work was only just beginning, that she had no time for a luxury of grief, because now she was to be The Mother to others, even as he told John that he (and we) were to hold her to that role.

She was there as the apostles hid in the upper room. Likely she was around the food, making everyone as comfortable as possible and raising the eyebrow again, wondering if these men would ever “get it.”

And she was there at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down and the church was formed.

We don’t read about Mary in a “leadership” role in the Acts of the Apostles, but I suspect that this is because Mary’s leadership was lived in the guise of The Mother.

The guidance (and the role of overseer) which is part and parcel of a mother’s job is –- while indispensable –- rarely understood as “leadership.” This is as true today, in our “enlightened age” as it was in the “patriarchal” Judean culture. The attention to detail, the fussy “human” stuff, the work, wisdom, planning and supervisory/administrative role of a mother is as under-appreciated now as it was, then, but in either era it is the backbone of . . .well, if you really stop to consider, the role of The Mother is the backbone of everything that is and was and will be.

Luke does not write about Mary in the Acts, but it is not unthinkable that as the apostles were building up the church Mary was doing more than simply feeding people and washing clothes. I am sure she did do those things, but she was a mother –- The Mother of the church –- and so I am quite certain that aside from her domestic tasks Mary was pointing the apostles and those first followers in this direction and that saying, “make sure you talk to so-and-so,” “don’t forget about thus and such,” “did you remember to do this or that?” “I overheard thus-and-such, you’d better be aware of that, and make sure you . . .”

That’s the affectionate watchfulness of The Mother, too often seen by her children as nagging, and it might have seemed like nagging to the apostles, too. But all of that meddling and observing and commenting has a tendency to beget planning and strategy and the foreseeing-and-overcoming of obstacles before they muck things up.

This is what mothers do. It is what I suspect Mary did, constantly at the service of the church, at the service of the apostles and the believers, serving them not only with her hands but with the wisdom of The Mother, gleaned over a lifetime of work and love.

Having given her own flesh and blood to the Incarnate Word who knew Christ better than she? Who could explain to his sometimes thick-headed apostles what he was about, how the woman who bested him in reason, (“but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.“) probably pleased Jesus with her cleverness, not only because it demonstrated her faith, but because it nudged his good humor.

Perhaps she cued Luke (who tradition holds interviewed Mary, personally) into the fact that when Jesus said, regarding Herod, “Go tell that fox that I cast out demons and heal the sick…” he was not merely giving forth information, but he was having fun with language, as well, by calling Herod a “fox,” which was another way of calling him (scripturally) a weakling, that he was a small, scuttling opportunist whom Christ did not fear, and whom we should not fear, either.

Mary said “yes” to the Angel of the Lord. She was the Ark of the New Covenant, there at the beginning of the great pageant of Salvation.

She is here, now, the approachable Mother to whom countless parents and children turn when –- exasperated or undone by human relations –- they need a wise mother in whom to confide. But her answer is always the same, “Do whatever HE tells you . . .”

She is in the time to come –- Revelation 12 calls her “the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet,” the very image which, after 500 years, still shows itself on the rough, plant-fibered tilma of Juan Diego — the image of reassurance.

But that is what a mother does. She reassures. She works for her family. She serves. She carries on and carries forward, doing the things that need to be done. Even if all the while, her heart is pierced with a sword of deep and lasting sorrow.

And we, who each carry within our own lives wounds both secret and open, have in this Sorrowful but Eternal Mother, a perfect confidante, a Mother to whom we can turn because we know she’s “been there, done that.” When a daughter keeps dubious company and a son gets himself in trouble, you can turn to Mary and say, “Mary . . . what am I to do with this child? Help!”

“Do,” she will counsel, over and over, “what He tells you . . .”

TOPICS: Catholic

1 posted on 04/16/2011 12:16:07 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley
Stabet Mater Dolorosa (catholic/orthodox caucus)
[CATHOLIC/ORTHODOX CAUCUS] Spirituality: Our Lady of Sorrows
The Seven Swords Rosary Of Our Lady Of Sorrows [Catholic Caucus] Prayer and Meditation
The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows [Catholic Caucus] Prayer/Devotion

Our Lady of Sorrows, part I: "Her Martyrdom was longer and greater than that of all the martyrs"
The Seven Dolors (Sorrows) of Mary [Catholic/Orthodox Devotional]
Apparition in Africa: Our Lady of Sorrows [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Catholic Caucus Devotional]
Feast of Our Lady/Mother of Sorrows
Homilies on Our Lady of Sorrows
Starkenburg:Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine
Our Mother of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows - Sep 15

2 posted on 04/16/2011 12:28:27 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: markomalley
Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater is the title of a thirteenth-century Latin hymn and it means "the Mother was standing."  In Latin, the hymn consists of twenty couplets which describe the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin at the Cross.  There are more than sixty English translations that have been made of the Stabat Mater.  To listen to the music of the Stabat Mater, click here.  This requires a Real Media Player which may be downloaded free from




At the cross her station keeping,
Mary stood in sorrow weeping
When her Son was crucified.

While she waited in her anguish,
Seeing Christ in torment languish,
Bitter sorrow pierced her heart.

With what pain and desolation,
With what noble resignation,
Mary watched her dying Son.

Ever-patient in her yearning
Though her tear-filled eyes were burning,
Mary gazed upon her Son.

Who, that sorrow contemplating,
On that passion meditating,
Would not share the Virgin's grief?

Christ she saw, for our salvation,
Scourged with cruel acclamation,
Bruised and beaten by the rod.

Christ she saw with life-blood failing,
All her anguish unavailing,
Saw him breathe his very last.

Mary, fount of love's devotion,
Let me share with true emotion
All the sorrow you endured.

Virgin, ever interceding,
Hear me in my fervent pleading:
Fire me with your love of Christ.

Mother, may this prayer be granted:
That Christ's love may be implanted
In the depths of my poor soul.

At the cross, your sorrow sharing,
All your grief and torment bearing,
Let me stand and mourn with you.

Fairest maid of all creation,
Queen of hope and consolation,
Let me feel your grief sublime.

Virgin, in your love befriend me,
At the Judgment Day defend me.
Help me by your constant prayer.

Savior, when my life shall leave me,
Through your mother's prayers
receive me
With the fruits of victory.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of your dying Son divine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In His very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awe-full judgment day.

Savior, when my life shall leave me,
Through your mother's prayers
receive me
With the fruits of victory.

While my body here decays
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally. Amen Alleluia.

The Collegeville Hymnal
Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1990.


Stabat Mater dolorósa
Juxta Crucem lacrimósa,
Dum pendébat Filius.

Cujus ánimam geméntem,
Contristátam et doléntem,
Pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigéniti!

Quae maerébat, et dolébat,
Pia Mater, dum vidébat
Nati poenas inclyti.

Quis est homo, qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si vidéret
In tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristári,
Christi Matrem contemplári
Doléntem cum Filio?

Pro peccátis suae gentis
Vidit Jesum in torméntis,
Et flagéllis súbditum.

Vidit suum dulcem natum
Moriéndo desolátum,
Dum emisit spíritum.

Eja mater, fons amóris,
Me sentíre vim dolóris
Fac, ut tecum lúgeam.

Fac, ut árdeat cor meum
In amándo Christum Deum,
Ut sibi compláceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo válide.

Tui nati vulneráti,
Tam dignáti pro me pati,
Poenas mecum dívide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
Crucifixo condolére,
Donec ego víxero.

Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociáre
In planctu desídero.

Virgo vírginum praeclára,
Mihi jam non sis amára:
Fac me tecum plángere.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
Passiónis fac consórtem,
Et plagas recólere.

Fac me plagis vulnerári,
Fac me Cruce inebriári,
Et cruó re Fílii.

Flammis ne urar succénsus,
Per te, Virgo, sim defénsus
In die judícii.

Christe, cum sit hinc exíre
Da per Matrem me veníre
Ad palmam victóriae.

Quando corpus moriétur,
Fac, ut ánimae donétur
Paradísi glória. Amen. Allelúja.

Missale Romanum
Cincinnati: Benziger Brothers, 1956.

Spiritual Meaning

Christians of the twentieth century can truly identify with Our Lady's experience of Sorrow.  The message of the Stabat Mater focuses on the spiritual and emotional bond which unites Mary and all Christians to the death of her Son on the Cross.  From this bond, each Christian can recognize the incredible compassion and holiness in Mary's character.  The Blessed Mother demonstrated her maternal compassion to all generations of Christians by her presence and participation with her Son Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Cross.

There is a mother-son bond that unites Mary with Christ Jesus during his experience of suffering and death. This empathetic bond indicates that Our Lady shared in her Son's suffering.  Mary is Our Lady of Sorrows precisely because her Son Christ Jesus bore the sins of the world during his passion and death.  As the faithful disciple, Our Blessed Mother invites us to unite our personal suffering with her own.  We can share in Jesus' burden on the Cross, just as Mary did at Calvary.

As Our Lady of Sorrows, Mary also reminds us that Christians are called to expiate for his or her own sins and the sins of their neighbors, and the sins of the world.  We can share in the bond between the Blessed Mother and Our Lord through fasting, prayer, and contrition for sin. Our Lady of Sorrows teaches us that the Crown of eternal life in Heaven can be reached when we each choose to share with Our Lord in His suffering and death on the Cross at Calvary.

The compassion of Mary is part of the mystery of the Church community's sharing in, and offering, the Sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of the world.  Each member of the Church has a role to play in redeeming the world.  Our Lady of Sorrows is a guide who inspires and teaches us how to be compassionate.

Historical Aspects

Now that we have explored some of the contemporary meaning of the Stabat Mater, let us summarize the hymn's important history.  Tradition has identified the hymn with St. Bonaventure, Jacopone da Todi, and Pope Innocent II.  A notable number of scholars point to da Todi as author, since two fourteenth-century codices and the 1495 edition of the sequence attribute the hymn's authorship to him.  While it cannot be denied that the composition's general tone and sensitivity parallel that of da Todi's poems, strictly stylistic comparisons yield uncertain and even disputable results.  Recent scholars like L. Russo and M. Cassella are not impressed by the arguments in favor of Jacopone's authorship.  The Stabat Mater has two qualities that most scholars date from the twelfth century: an intricate rhyme scheme and a regular meter (usually trochaic).

Liturgical Importance

The Stabat Mater was introduced into the Liturgy gradually until 1727 when it was prescribed as a Sequence for Mass of the Seven Sorrows of Mary on September 15 and on Friday before Holy Week, as well as their corresponding offices.  The Stabat Mater has been retained as an optional Sequence for September 15 in the reformed Roman Missal and as the hymn for the Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer in the new Liturgy of Hours.  The Stabat Mater's popularity is reflected by its use in the popular devotion of the Stations of the Cross.

Its Place in Music

During the sixteenth century, the sequence motet was a favorite form among important musical composers.  The Stabat Mater was frequently given elaborate polyphonic settings.  A model of such settings is Palestrina's famous Stabat Mater which employs two choruses and combines several couplets to suggest larger musical units within the total composition.  During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Stabat Mater inspired large works for chorus and orchestra.  The hymn's text was divided into a number of autonomous and differentiated movements.  Compositions of this type were those of Seffani,  Scarlatti, Pergolesi, Boccherini, and Haydn.  During the nineteenth century, the popularity of the Stabat Mater's text is evident by its place in the work of Verdi, Rossini, Schubert, and Dvorak.

I'm "The Mother of God"
at the foot of the Cross clutching at
Simeon's sword impaled in my breast
where the blood of despair trickles
betwixt my fingers
as the sword pierces next
my heart, my mind, my
soul, my very being there
washes me
in the blood of the
Lamb, again, as at His birth
while the rabble twist and turn the
blade with their jeers and scorn, and
their catcalls taunting Him to
save Himself, let alone the world
til only me, I'm left with just
His striped God-forsaken Body. I
sink to my knees, praying
my prayer to doubt
my doubt that true to His Word
He will
do what He said He would do,
three days hence; and my wounds
will be no more. Forever.
Carl Winderl, 1999
To be published in a forthcoming manuscript.

This summary was compiled from the following sources:

Cuyler, L. E. "Stabat Mater." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume 13. Pages 625-626.
Washington D.C.: Catholic University Press, 1967.

Dictionary of Mary. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1985.

Missale Romanum. Cincinnati: Benziger Brothers, 1920.

McKenna, Edward J. The Collegeville Hymnal. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1990.

O'Carroll, Michael. Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Collegeville: Michael Glazier, 1980.

3 posted on 04/16/2011 12:35:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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