Passion of Christ: April 2009 Archives

Eia, Mater, Fons Amoris

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Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Commemoration of the Sorrowful Compassion of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Virgin of Sorrows is the Portress of the Holy Mysteries, the Keeper of the Door of Christ's Pierced Heart, the Mother of our Joy. The last edition of the Missale Romanum, published in 2002, contains two modifications, discreet touches that will leave in the Missal of Paul VI the unmistakable imprint of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II.

The first of these concerns the Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent, the Friday before Palm Sunday. The 2002 edition of the Missal restores the Commemoration of the Compassion of the Virgin Mary formerly celebrated on the Friday of Passion Week, and offers for the Fifth Friday of Lent the following collect:

O God, who during this time
graciously grant to your Church
devoutly to imitate blessed Mary
in contemplation of the Passion of Christ,
grant us, we pray,
through the intercession of the same Virgin,
to cling each day more firmly to your Only-Begotten Son,
and to come at length to the fullness of his grace.

The second touch is in a rubric concerning the chants during the Good Friday adoratio crucis: it suggests that after the traditional chants given in the Missal and the Graduale Romanum the Stabat Mater also be sung in commemoration of the Blessed Virgin’s sorrowful compassion. In this way, a thirteenth century text, presumed to be of Franciscan origin -- it is attributed to Jacopone da Todi --takes it place alongside the ancient antiphon Crucem tuam, the Improperia, and the hymn to the Cross of Venantius Fortunatus.

The Stabat Mater is strong medicine for those who, being of a more abstract or cerebral disposition, would approach the Passion of Christ without getting bloodied, without being set ablaze, without feeling a melting in their breast.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory