17 March 2016
Our Lady of Sorrows
Perhaps this is the time to recall 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 and the Ordinariate Missal 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 about this, not very long ago? - gave the text (and I invited readers to contribute translations; which they did) of the collect for that day. In fact, 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 probably, 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; translation will be found in the Daily missal.
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 ... don't you agree ... it plods. I also observe that it contains a phrase that I keep seeing in post-Concilar liturgical formulae: plenitudo gratiae. I suspect this of being semi-Pelagian: in these blessed guilt-free times, we no longer grovel in our wretchedness but just ask God for a bit of a top-up; not for grace but just for a bigger dose of it..
In these post-Conciliar days, we no longer commemorate the Dolours of our Lady; we make it personal and celebrate Maria Perdolens (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 in the Lady Chapel of his Cathedral listed the Friday Mass as Maria Compatiens.
Now - do I mistake me - we have there a way-in, do we not, to an understanding of Maria Coredemptrix?