Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. At Mass today, you may have the opportunity to hear sung or recited the sequence Stabat Mater. It is one of only four sequences left after the publication of the Missal of Paul VI in 1970. Indeed, when the Missal of Pius V was published, it was only one of five sequences. The others in use in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Mass are the Victimae Paschali Laudes at Easter, Veni, Sance Spiritus at Pentecost, and Lauda Sion at Corpus Christi. The additional sequence for the Usus Antiquior is the Dies Irae for the Requiem Mass.

The Sequence, of course, is sung before the Gospel. The Stabat Mater, however, is also (sometimes) sung with a verse after each Station during the Stations of the Cross. It is for this reason that I chose today to announce the second part of the Prayer Book Project, which is settings of the Stations of the Cross (I could also add the Seven Sorrows).

John Paul II, in the Good Friday, 1991 Stations at the Colliseum, introduced a Scriptural Way of the Cross, drawing on texts from the Gospels. As the essentials for engaging in the way of the cross are fourteen crosses erected by the proper authority which are to be walked at least by the leader of those making the devotion, it seemed an excellent idea to include a Scriptural Way of the Cross in the new prayer book. This manages to respect our Tradition, while at the same time finding a new expression for it.

Nevertheless, it is best to not only have this setting, but also the traditional fourteen stations included. As the Way of the Cross of St. Alphonsus Liguori is a particularly venerable expression of the traditional form, I thought it best to include this version. Particularly, it is easy to celebrate when only one book, as the peoples' responses are the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. Also, it includes the verses of the Stabat Mater.

Additionally, it seemed best to also include a Patristic Way of the Cross, providing meditations on particular scenes from the traditional stations with meditations by the Fathers of the Church. For the setting of the Seven Sorrows, I thought it best to include one with Scripture Meditations as well as Traditional Meditations.

Now, I just need to finish the Rosary portion of the project.

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