Is there any grief like a mother’s when she loses her child? There are many songs that try to answer this question, but many come out with less than satisfactory results. There is one hymn, however, that is perhaps the best piece of sorrowful music in the Catholic Church, and perhaps the world. The Stabat Mater, a Latin hymn that can also be recited in prayer, reminds us of the Blessed Mother’s intense sorrow at seeing her beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, dying on the cross so that we might have Eternal Life.
This masterpiece of music is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary,which (as mentioned before), portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ’s mother during his crucifixion. A Franciscan friar named Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi is said to have written the original text in the 13th century, although some scholars have attributed it to Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which, loosely translated, means “the sorrowful mother was standing”.
The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by many composers, most famously by Palestrina (~1590), Vivaldi (1712), Domenico (1715) and Alessandro Scarlatti (1723).
There are over 60 English translations of the Stabat Mater, including this one. The Stabat Mater was used frequently in the Liturgy for centuries before it became a sequence (a hymn spoken or sung before the Gospel) in 1727 for the feast of the Seven Sorrows. Its use as a sequence is optional now on that feast day (now called the feast for Our Lady of Sorrows), but the hymn is often prayed with the Stations of the Cross at Lent. The Stabat Mater brings to mind front and center just how fully our Blessed Mother suffered along with Jesus, like Him on our behalf! St. Alphonsus Liguori once wrote, that “two hung upon one cross.”
Youtube- Stabat Mater-