Sorrowful Mother

Here is my translation with the entry from the Roman Martyrology for the …

Memoria beatae Mariae Virginis perdolentis, quae, iuxta crucem Iesu adstans, Filii salutiferae passioni intime fideliterque sociata est et nova exstitit Eva, ut, quemadmodum primae mulieris inoboedientia ad mortem contulit, ita mira eius oboedientia ad vitam conferret.

The memorial of the greatly grieving Blessed Virgin Mary, who, standing by the Cross of Jesus, was intimately and faithfully united to the saving Passion of her Son and showed herself to be the new Eve, so that just as the disobedience of the first woman lead to death, just so her wondrous obedience might lead to life.

In the older, pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum we find this wonderful Collect for today’s Holy Mass.

Deus, in cuius passione,
secundum Simeonis prophetiam
dulcissimam animam gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae
doloris gladius pertransivit:
concede propitius;
ut qui dolores eius venerando recolimus,
passionis tuae effectum felicem consequamur.

O God, at whose Passion,
according to the Simeon’s prophecy,
the most sweet soul of the glorious Virgin, Mary our Mother,
was pierced by a sword of sorrow:
mercifully grant
that we who observe her sorrows by veneration
may attain to the happy result of Your Passion….


Also, in the old Communion Antiphon we have a connection between the great sorrow of Mary at the Cross and how she merits to be called Queen of Martyrs:

Felices sensus beatae Mariae Virginis,
qui sine morte meruerunt martyrii palmam
sub Cruce Domini

Sensus is an incredibly complicated word. It means, among other things, the faculties of sensing and perceiving, but also of the sentiments of the heart and mind. In a collective "sense" sensus stands for "the common feelings of humanity, the moral sense". Sensus is also our disposition of mind or humor and inclination. It signifies understanding of the thinking faculty, in the sphere of reason. How to render this with a word in English?

Blissful the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
which beneath the Cross of the Lord,
without death merited the martyr’s palm.

This antiphon underscores how the totality of Mary’s being, "magnified" by God at every point of her life, was united with her Son as He endured the sufferings of the Cross.


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13 Responses to Sorrowful Mother

  1. Father: I recall my late Great-Grandmother praying the 7 Dolours Chaplet,
    reading St. Alphonsus’ Discourse on the 7 Dolours and the Stabat Mater. Is today
    the day for those devotions? I realize these devotions are probably
    WAY out of fashion but I happen to like them so I’m curious. Of course, one may
    do them at any time but I’m inquiring as to when the “best” time is.
    I think I’ve heard that around
    Easter the 7 Sorrows Devotion may be done so I’m not sure if there are
    2 times/year or just one.

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    Today’s ICEL opening prayer appears to be a translation of a different (and less poetic) collect:

    Father, as you Son was raised on the cross,
    his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings.
    May your Church be united with Christ
    in his suffering and death
    and so come to share in his rising to new life.

    At the morning Mass I attended, I heard all 20 verses of the Stabat Mater recited in English. If I’d stayed home and watched the Mass on EWTN, I’d have heard (only) 6 or 8 verses chanted in Latin.

  3. Henry Edwards says:


    In the traditional calendar, the Seven Sorrows of the BVM are commemorated both on Friday of Passion Week (the week before Holy Week) and on September 15.

  4. Don Marco says:

    Two comments.

    First, Henry, the commemoration of the Compassion of the BVM is restored to the Friday before Holy Week in the Editio Typica Tertia (2002) of the Missale Romanum. So, we again have two commemorations of the Sorrows of Our Lady.

    Second, Cathy of Alex, do read my posting on the Rosary of the Seven Dolours over at

    And one final thing: at the Glorious Cross this morning we sang the sequence from beginning to end!

  5. Gentlemen: Thank you for the information!

  6. Father, I have a question:
    I understand that there might have been a need for some new prayers to “fill in the gaps” in the Novus Ordo, but why in the world did they go and make the effort to write new prayers for the Roman Missal, when we had so many good ones already. Our translations are bad enough, but I am often underwhelmed at the newer prayers. “Glorious” would not be a term I would often use in describing them. (I especially point to the new collects for feasts of Saints.)
    It’s one thing to change a lot of the rubrics and calendar, but to go through and change so many prayers when they already had prayers seems odd. The effort it took certainly seems less organic and more agenda driven to me. I guess I am probably preaching to the choir. I certainly recognize that the Chruch has the authority to do it, but I just often wonder, “Why?”

  7. Roman Sacristan: The only thing I can think of is that part of the committee wanted to make them less Catholic.

  8. Something that may interest you all: the 2002 Missale Romanum provides (iuxta locorum condiciones aut populi traditiones et pro opportunitate pastorali . . . blah, blah, blah) for the singing of the Stabat Mater as given in the Roman Gradual (or of another chant in commemoration of the Compassion of the Blessed Virgin Mary) after the singing of the Crux Fidelis at the Good Friday adoration of the Cross.

  9. Tom says:

    Three alternative and more literal English translations of the collect from the “new” missal:

    1. From the Catholic Book Publishing Co.’s revised edition of Rev. Hugo Hoever’s Lives of the Saints:

    God, You willed that the compassionate Mother of Your Sonshould stand near the Cross on which he was glorified. Grant that Your Church, having shared in Christ’s Passion, may also participate in His resurrection.

    2. From the National Liturgical Commission of England and wales’ translation of the Missale Romanum:

    O God, You willed that as Your Son hung on the Cross, His Blessed Mother should stand by Him and share his sufferings. Grant that Your Church,which also shares in the Passion of Christ, may share too in His Resurrection.

    3. From The Divine Office, a translation of Liturgia Horarum approves for use in Australia, England & Wales et al.:

    God our Father, when Jesus, Your Son, was riased up on the Cross, it was Your Will that Mary, His Mother, shoud stand there and suffer with Him in Hr Heart. Grant that, in union with Her, the Church may share in the Passion of Christ and so be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.

  10. Paul says:

    Has anyone noticed the post-communion prayer in the current English Missal: “…may we make up in our lives what is lacking in the sufferrings of Christ…”. What does this mean? What is lacking in Christ’s sufferrings that can be made-up for in our lives? Any ideas?

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    The only thing I can think of is that part of the committee wanted to make them less Catholic.

    As anyone knows who’s studied the recent articles of Lauren Pristas, this particular part of the committee was stunningly successful. Father Z has documented exhaustively how so much authentic Catholic doctrine was lost in the translation from the Novus Ordo Latin to ICEL English. Pristas seems to show that as much or more was lost in the wholesale replacement of traditional collects by wholly new or intensively edited ones. I therefore wonder whether authentic Catholic liturgy can be restored merely by faithful translation of the existing Latin Novus Ordo.

  12. Paul,
    this comes from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians 1:24-25: “Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the suffering s of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church. I became a minister of this Church through the commission God gave me to preach among you His word in its fullness.”

  13. Paul says:

    Thanks, Roman Sacristan