Today we celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows. This commemorates how she shared in the Passion of her Son by walking with him along the way of the Cross and then by her vigil with him on Calvary’s Hill. This brought to fulfilment the prophesy of Simeon at the Presentation that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart. It is fitting that this should be celebrated a day after the Exaltation of the Cross.
At Mass today a special sequence is read before the Gospel. It will be familiar to those who pray the Stations of the Cross as the meditations that are sung whilst going from one station to another.
Read them slowly and reflectively from Mary’s perspective. The image of Mary is of course from Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’.
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 had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother highly blessed
of the sole-begotten One.
Christ above in torments hangs;
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep
whelmed 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.
O you Mother, fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with yours accord:
make me feel as you have felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ our Lord.
Holy Mother, pierce me through;
in my heart each wound renew
of my Saviour crucified:
Let me share with you his pain
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with you,
mourning him who mourned for me
all the days that I may live:
by the cross with you to stay,
there with you to weep and pray,
is all I ask of you to give.
Virgin of all virgins best,
listen to my fond request:
let me share your grief divine;
let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of yours.
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 awful judgement day.
Christ, when you shall call me hence,
be your Mother my defence,
be your cross my victory.
While my body here decays,
may my soul your goodness praise,
safe in paradise with you.