As I mentioned in one of my posts yesterday, there are a number of changes to the Holy Week ceremonies in the new translation of the Missal, and today we encounter one of the first: the restoration, in part, of the commemoration of Our Lady of Sorrows, celebrated on the Friday of Passion week (now fifth week of Lent) in the liturgy prior to the changes of Vatican II. Blessed John Paul II directed that the collect of the commemoration be included as an option in today's Mass.
This is a wonderful restoration, it encourages a more devotional approach to the liturgy and that is not a bad thing. As we are about to enter Holy Week, there is no better companion than Our Lady who can lead us through the events and help us enter into them in a deeper way. Meditating on her sorrows, those of a mother and a faithful disciple, we may experience a livelier sorrow ourselves, and that sorrow will help us come closer to the Lord who offered his life for our salvation.
Traditionally today's memorial commemorates Our Lady's compassion, a compassion not only for her suffering Son, but also for us who still labour under the yoke of sin and struggle with the difficulties of life. As we reflect on that we see what a beautiful commemoration this is and how necessary it is for us in these times, particularly when so many have suffered, even at the hands of representatives of the Church. Surely the Holy Mother of God holds in her heart all those innocents who, like her Son, have been abused by others. I hope many priests will use the optional collect and preach on the Compassionate Heart of Mary, the Lady of Sorrows. Personally I would have like to see a restoration of the full Mass of the commemoration, rather than just an optional collect, a restoration which would also include the Stabat Mater.
Blessed John Paul restored a number of Masses from the Tridentine liturgy. The Mass of Tears is one (cf Roman Missal, Masses for Various Intentions, 38 B), and the Mass for Chastity is another (cf Roman Missal, Masses for Various Intentions, 39). Strangely, in a time when purity and chastity were under attack - the 1960's, those reforming the liturgy felt the need to remove a Mass which was badly needed. Crazy.
O God, who in this seasongive your Church the graceto imitate devoutly the Blessed Virgin Maryin contemplating the Passion of Christ,grant, we pray, through her intercession,that we may cling more firmly each dayto your Only Begotten Sonand come at last to the fullness of grace.Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.