The Stabat Mater Stations

by John Raymond


Many people are familiar with the Stabat Mater hymn that begins "At the Cross Her station keeping" because it is usually sung between the stations when making the Way of the Cross. On September 15, Our Lady of Sorrows, this poetic hymn is a "sequence" in the Mass. It is optional to sing or recite this sequence in place of the Responsorial psalm.

The Stabat Mater hymn is credited to Jacopone of Todi. He was born in Todi, Italy in the year 1230. He studied law at Bologna and married in 1267. After the death of his wife he became a Franciscan lay brother. During this time he became popular for his works of religious hymns and poetry. In 1294 he and some of his brethren were granted permission by Pope Celestine V to live in a separate community and follow the Franciscan rule in its original strictness. In 1303 he lived as a hermit near Orvieto. He died on Christmas Day, 1306.

The Stabat Mater hymn is the underlying inspiration for my Stabat Mater Stations hymn. Both use the same melody. But my poetic hymn actually describes each of the stations. It is meant to be sung at the station instead of between stations. Each stanza begins with a consideration of the station and concludes by applying the message or meaning of the station to one's own life.


The Stabat Mater Stationsstation1.gif (12291 bytes)

I. You are condemned to death
let me to my latest breath
magnify Your innocence.
station2.gif (5350 bytes)

II. Heavy Cross upon Your Shoulder
be my poor soul more the boulder
taking up my daily cross.
station3.gif (9603 bytes)

III. O first fall upon Your Knee
let me always rise and see
Your forgiving mercy.
station4.gif (4709 bytes)

IV. You meet Your sorrowful Mother
Her Hearts pain is like no other
may I share Your grief with You.
station5.gif (7211 bytes)

V. Simon's forced to share Your tree
of my sins indignity
may I bear more willingly.
station6.gif (12115 bytes)

VI. O how Your Face so defiled
with a cloth is wiped so mild.
May I serve You more and more.
station7.gif (11849 bytes)

VII. You fall the second time
for my repetitious crime
when I fall back into sin.
station8.gif (7025 bytes)

VIII. Women see You and they weep
Your poor Body cut so deep
may my pain be one with Yours.
station9.gif (4609 bytes)

IX. You fall in my place
may You rise by my embrace
of Your Cross so dear to me.
station10.gif (12478 bytes)

X. Your Body is despoiled
of Your garments I have soiled
by my selfish attitude.
station11.gif (4823 bytes)

XI. O how cruel nails pierce You through
for all that I fail to do
O my Savior crucified.
station12.gif (4576 bytes)

XII. Mother let me share His pain
who for all our sins was slain
who for me in torment died.
station13.gif (5209 bytes)

XIII. Taken from the Cross above
with Your Heart broken by love
may my heart be one with Yours.
station14.gif (11114 bytes)

XIV. Mother Mary by the tomb
may Your sorrow I assume
In my death my comfort be.