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Stabat Mater

Reflections for Holy Week

Stabat Mater is a tragic song that meditates on the sorrow of Our Lady as she stood at the foot of the Cross during the crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The song embodies the lament of Mary, for as she watches the agony of her Son she also sees the suffering of her God. As foretold by the Prophet Simeon, her heart was pierced by a sword of sorrow.

This particular version of Stabat Mater was composed by the Italian musician Giovanni Maria Nanino (1543-1607). It was adopted into the book of Gregorian Chant, the Liber Usualis, and is here sung by the Benedictine monks of the Abbaye Saint Maurice et Saint Maur de Clervaux, Luxembourg.

Listen to Stabat Mater


Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
Dum pendebat Filius.

Cuius animam gementem,
Contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta,
Mater Unigeniti.

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati poenas inclyti.

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

Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit Iesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
Moriendo desolatum,
Dum emisit spiritum.

Eia, Mater, fons amoris
Me sentirie 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,
Et 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 consortem,
Et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari,
Fac me Cruce inebriari,
Et cruore Filii.

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

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Da per Matrem me venire
Ad palmam victoriae.

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

The sorrowful Mother stood
Tearful, close to the Cross,
From which her Son was hanging.

Her mourning soul,
Sad and grieving,
Was pierced by a sword.

O how sad and afflicted
Was that, highly blessed,
Mother of the only-begotten One.

She mourned and grieved,
The pious Mother, as she saw
The torments of her glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
If he were to see the Mother of Christ
In such agony ?

Who would not be sorrowful
Were he to contemplate Christ's Mother,
Grieving with her Son?

For the sins of His people,
She saw Jesus subjected
To torments and scourges.

She saw her sweet Son
Dying in desolation,
As He delivered His Spirit.

O thou Mother, fount of love,
Make me feel the force of pain,
So that I may grieve with thee.

Make my heart burn
With the love for Jesus Christ
So that I may be pleasing to Him.

Holy Mother, bring this to pass,
Place the wounds of the Crucified One
Firmly onto my heart.

Of thy injured Son,
Who deigned to suffer for my sake,
Let me share the pains.

Make me piously weep with thee,
Grieving with the Crucified One,
So that I may truly live.

To stand with thee by the Cross,
And share with thee
Thy mourning is what I desire.

Virgin of virgins, eminent,
Do not be harsh with me, now,
Let me share thy tears.

Let me bear the death of Christ,
Be espoused to His Passion,
And carry His wounds.

Wound me with His every wound,
Inebriate me with His Cross,
And the Blood of thy Son.

I pray that I will not be without defense
From the flames on Judgment Day,
Thanks to thy intercession, o Virgin.

Christ, when I leave this life,
Grant that, through Thy Mother, I attain,
The palm of victory.

When my body dies,
Let to my soul be given,
The glory of Paradise. Amen.

Stabat Mater

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King David playing on the harp

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