Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Traditionally the Latin sequence Stabat Mater is used today to help us reflect on the Crucifixion of Jesus through the eyes of his Mother.  As we stand with her beneath the Cross, gazing at her beloved Son through her Immaculate Heart, we come to understand in a deeper way the mystery which is unfolding before us, the sacrifice which was offered to save us, and the redemption which is there for us.  There is also a beautiful poem by St Robert Southwell on the Crucifixion as seen through Our Lady's eyes: it provides us with much "meat" for our meditation today:

What mist hath dimm'd that glorious face?
What seas of grief my sun doth toss?
The golden rays of heavenly grace
Lies now eclipsèd on the cross.

Jesus, my love, my Son, my God,
Behold Thy mother wash'd in tears:
Thy bloody wounds be made a rod
To chasten these my later years.

You cruel Jews, come work your ire
Upon this worthless flesh of mine,
And kindle not eternal fire
By wounding Him who is divine.

Thou messenger that didst impart
His first descent into my womb,
Come help me now to cleave my heart,
That there I may my Son entomb.

You angels, all that present were
To show His birth with harmony,
Why are you not now ready here,
To make a mourning symphony?

The cause I know you wail alone,
And shed your tears in secrecy,
Lest I should movèd be to moan,
By force of heavy company.

But wail, my soul, thy comfort dies,
My woful womb, lament thy fruit;
My heart give tears unto mine eyes,
Let sorrow string my heavy lute.

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