Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 111, a rather exultant prayer for such a somber feast.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heartPsalm 111:1-2
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
The psalm allows us to see beyond the sorrows we commemorate today. At the same time, the memorial reminds us that these sorrows of Mary were real human sufferings endured for Love.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,from The Stabat Mater
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!
The scriptures give us precious little of Mary’s life. But each small account demonstrates the same thing: Mary responded, she showed up, she acted, she stood by Jesus until the end.
Poetry: Today’s poetic passage is from one of the great classics of Christian literature, A Woman Wrapped in Silence by Father John W. Lynch.
The book is a masterpiece best appreciated in reflective contemplation. I have chosen a sliver of its beauty today, one of many that captures Mary’s joy born of faith-filled suffering. This selection imagines what it was like when Mary remained in the Upper Room as the others, not knowing what to expect, went to the tomb early on Easter morning. The Resurrected Jesus comes to Mary first, before any other appearance.
Or is it true or thought of her she found no need To search? And better said that she had known Within, they’d not discover him again Among the dead? That he would not be there Entombed, and she had known, and only watched Them now as they were whispering of him, And let them go, and listened afterward To footsteps that were fading in the dark. To wait him here. Alone. Alone. A woman Lonely in the silence and the trust Of silence in her heart that did not seek, Or cry, or search, but only waited him. We have no word of this sweet certainty That hides in her. There is not granted line Writ meager in the scripture that will tell By even some poor, unavailing tag Of language what she keeps within the silence. This is hers. We are not told of this, This quaking instant, this return, this Light Beyond the tryst of dawn when she first lifted Up her eyes, and quiet, unamazed, Saw He was near.
Music: Much magnificent music is available for the Stabat Mater, a 13th century poem written by Franciscans and interpreted by many musical masters.
- Stabat Mater – Antonio Vivaldi
A short piece – Section 5: Eja Mater, fons amoris performed by Tim Mead
Eja, Mater, fons amóris
me sentíre vim dolóris
fac, ut tecum lúgeam
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord.
2. The complete work by Vivaldi is below for those who would like to hear it:
3. A little bit of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater here with the same fabulous Tim Mead and Lucy Crow