Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows by Adriaen Isenbrant
The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated a day after the feast of the Cross, and even though we are far from the Lenten season, the church asks us to reflect on the 7 sorrows that Mary experienced, as beautifully depicted in this image by Adriaen Isenbrant from the 16th century, a panel visible in Bruges, Belgium.
The 7 sorrows that Mary had to face were these, as described in each of the panels surrounding the image of the Sorrowful Mother:
1. Jesus’ circumcision.
2. The escape into Egypt.
3. Jesus lost and found in the temple.
4. Seeing Jesus carrying the cross and meeting him on the way to Calvary.
5. The crucifixion of Jesus.
6. The Pieta, as the dead body of Jesus is laid on her lap.
7. The burial of Jesus.

The beautiful hymn Stabat Mater Dolorosa is sung frequently during Lent, especially during the Stations of the Cross. The first three words mean Stood the mournful Mother weeping, and the poem was written by Jacopone de Todi in the 13th century, and was set to music by various composers including  Palestrina, Pergolesi, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Haydn, Rossini, and Dvor├ík. Here are the first 2 verses:

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

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