Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stations — the Way of the Cross

A moving, prayerful and wonderful devotion, especially during lent, is the reciting and meditation of the Via Dolorossa, the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross. In attempt to empathise with the Lord's Passion on Good Friday millions of people around the world pray the stations, standardly fourteen places from Christ before Pilate and his sentencing to the entombment. Many versions are done, one written by Alphonso Liguori, several scriptural ones, living recreations with actors amongst others. Some are accompanied by familiar popular prayers, some are done before or after mass, benediction, communion service and often a verse tristiche of the moving and lovely, Stabat mater dolorosa is sung after each station. Quite often one can communally participate in this service, in many parishes at 7 p.m. on the first six fridays of lent and at noon on Good Friday. Going to different locations each week, with, perhaps, a different presentation can add to the appreciation of the experience and prayer.
I Jesus is condemned to death
II Jesus takes up his Cross
III Jesus falls for the first time
IV Jesus meets his Mother
V Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrene to carry his Cross
VI Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
VII Jesus falls for the second time
VIII Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
IX Jesus falls for the third time
X Jesus is stripped of his garments
XI Jesus is nailed to the Cross
XII Jesus dies on the Cross
XIII Jesus is taken down from the Cross and given to his Mother
XIV Jesus is laid in the tomb
Stabat Mater dolorosa
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.
At, the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!
O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
Quae maerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?
Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?
Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?
Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent:
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.
For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:
Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.
Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.
By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me Cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Flammis ne urar succensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.
While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.
stabant autem juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus et soror matris ejus Maria Cleopæ et Maria Magdalene
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. — John xix. 25.
This marvelous poem and hymn is, usually, attributed to the third order Franciscan, Jacopone da Todi (c.1228-1306), translation by Edward Caswall (1814-1878), trochaic tetrameter often sung in plainsong (dom Fonteinne O.S.B. of Solesme), but many other musical settings, also.

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