Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Catholic Prayer: Stabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping)

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Description:

This 13th-century hymn is variously attributed to Gregory I, Bernard of Clairvaux, Pope Innocent III, St. Bonaventura, Jacopone da Todi, Pope John XXII, and Pope Gregory XI, and others; translated from Latin to English by Edward Caswall (1814-1878). It was the liturgical sequence for the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin (Sept. 15 and the Friday before Palm Sunday). It is no longer used on the Friday before Palm Sunday and is optional on September 15, but it continues to be sung at the Stations of the Cross during Lenten services. It was not admitted as a liturgical sequence until 1727, and musical settings are more numerous after that date.

Stabat Mater Dolorosa is considered one of the seven greatest Latin hymns of all time. It is based upon the prophecy of Simeon that a sword was to pierce the heart of Our Lord's mother, Mary (Lk2:35).

Prayer:

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 torment 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 sweet Mother! font 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 thee,
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 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 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 Judgment day.

Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.

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

Latin

Stabat Mater dolorosa
juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

Cujus animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem,
pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta
mater Unigeniti!

Quae maerebat, et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati poenas incliti.

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

Quis non posset contristari,
piam Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
morietnem desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.

Eia Mater, fons amoris,
me sentire vim doloris fac
ut tecum lugeam.

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum,
ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
Crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.

Iuxta crucem tecum stare,
ac me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero.

Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara:
fac me tecum plangere.

Fac ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac me sortem,
et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari
cruce hac inebriari,
et cruore Filii.

Flammis urar succensus
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
In die iudicii.

Fac me cruce custodiri,
morte Christi praemuniri,
confoveri gratia.

Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria. Amen.