16 March 2009

Our Lady of Sorrows

... is a suitable Lenten devotion; indeed, clergy who are bullied by their congregations into giving liturgical expression to Mothering Sunday sometimes, unlawful though it be, have a Mass of our Lady of Sorrows on that day. But more about Mothering Sunday later in the week.

Catholics may well wish to do the devotion of the Via Matris; seven stations of the seven sorrows, dolours, of our Lady. These are not hard to find on the Internet; if you want traditional language devotions, you will find them at http://www.liturgies.net/saints/mary/viamatris/viamatris.htm

Our Lady of Sorrows has a feast very appropriately situated on the old Octave Day of our Lady's Birthday, September 15, which by a Providential neatness is the very day after Holy Cross Day (how can anybody doubt that Providence is a Catholic Liturgist?). The old Roman Rite also had a commemoration on the Friday after Passion Sunday, i.e. the Friday last before Good Friday. Missale Parisiense - does anybody recall a post I did with this title on 12 February this year? I gave the text (and invited readers to contribute translations; which they did) of the collect in a the seventeenth century Parisian Missal for that day. I now discover that the collect concerned appears in Servite texts of the Via Matris. Does that mean that, rather than being composed by one of Archbishop de Harlay's 'Gallican' and semi-Jansenist young men, it is an older Servite formula? Or did the Servites get it from the Paris Missal? And I see it in my old pre-Conciliar Walsingham Pilgrim's Manual, to be said in the Chapel of our Lady of Sorrows, the fourth of the Stations of the Cross, in the Shrine grounds. I wonder how precisely Fr Hope Patten came by it. Or perhaps, since HP was not much of a latinist, it was Fr Fynes-Clinton.

Of course, the Passion Friday commemoration went for a burton in the Bugnini deformation of the Roman Rite. But, fathers, the Editio Typica Tertia Missalis Romani inserts a new optional collect for use in the ferial Mass of that day. I give the text and invite translations. My wife always says that mine are too literal. It's the schoolmaster in me.
Deus, qui ecclesiae tuae in hoc tempore tribuis benigne, beatam Mariam in passione Christi contemplanda devote imitari, da nobis, quaesumus, eiusdem Virginis intercessione, Unigenitio Filio tuo firmius in dies adhaerere et ad plenitudinem gratiae eius demum pervenire.
No harm in it; but I observe that it contains a phrase that I keep seeing in post-Concilar liturgical formulae: plenitudo gratiae. I suspect this of being semi-Pelagian, as we no longer grovel in our wretchedness but just ask God for a bit of a top-up.

In these post-Conciliar days, we no longer commemorate the Dolours of our Lady; we make it personal and celebrate Maria Perdolens. (If I were Fr Zed, I would explain that the prefix per- intensifies the meaning of dolens.) The great Avignon Bishop of Exeter, John de Grandisson (pronounced Grahnsen) in his arrangement of daily Marian votives to be said in his Cathedral used the phrase Maria Compatiens.

Now - do I mistake me - we have there a way-in, do we not, to an understanding of Maria Coredemptrix?


Joe S.R. said...

I'm not a Latinist, but here's my very rough translation:

"O God, who graciously grants to your church in this time to imitate Blessed Mary, in devoutly contemplating the Passion of Christ: Grant we beseech you, the intercession of the same Virgin,that we might in these days adhere more firmly to your only Begotten Son, and come at last to the fullness of grace"

A bit wordy, and I'm not sure how "dies" is being used in line five.

Christopher Mott said...

From Fr Michael Melrose:

'Deus qui' is a rather strange piece of Latin: it doesn't seem to be in Wilson's index to the prayers of the three sacramentaries; 'adhaerere in dies' must require 'nostros'; 'plenitudo' refers, of course, to the Kingdom of Heaven - c.f. the Paternoster and the Penitent Thief et al.

I suggest the following translation - if you want something not too literal - or literate - suitable for the Archdiocese of Glasgow in the reign of the late Red Tam (Cardinal Winning):

"Hi-yah big Yin! Us lot were wondering, in these peculiar times, if you might mind that your Son's dear old ma, who got a bit emotional watching his execution, and still says her prayers, could keep us chummy with her kid, so that at long last we may enjoy the full-monty of his niceness"