Stabat mater dolorosa – “The mournful mother was standing”. This is the opening line of the extraordinary hymn attributed to the 13th-century Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi, which is still a popular Lenten devotion.
In this book Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP meditates upon the Stabat Mater line by line. This is a book to help the reader to walk the road from Lent to Passiontide to Easter – and indeed from life to death to eternal life – in the company of the most Blessed and Sorrowful Mother, who stands at the foot of the Cross of her Son.
“If you truly wish to be transformed by Christ, go to the Cross and contemplate his Passion. If you truly desire to plumb the depths of knowledge of Christ’s Passion, go to his Blessed Mother… If you want to know some of what the Blessed Virgin Mary teaches about her Son’s Passion, read this book.”
Mother Marilla, OSB, Superior General of the Tyburn Nuns
“This beautiful little book, born of prayer, is just what I need, what every Catholic needs, for the fruitful praying of the Stations of the Cross.”
Fr John Sayward, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford
“A Desert Father of the fifth Century commenting on a vision he had of Saint Mary, the Mother of God, weeping by the Cross of the Saviour, famously declared, ‘I wish I could always weep like that.’ The medieval meditation, Stabat Mater, responds to this wish of the Christian soul. Who would not feel moved to comfort the sorrowful Mother of our crucified Saviour? Who would not desire to be taught by her the tears of authentic compunction? Father Armand de Malleray’s fine and sober commentary leads us ‘to better appreciate [Mary’s] grief so as to be shaped by it, her sorrowful heart becoming the matrix of our souls as they learn contrition.’ A luminous and profound exposition of one of the most powerful and consoling prayers of the Catholic tradition.”
Dom Xavier Perrin, OSB, Abbot of Quarr, author of The Radiance of Her Face, Angelico Press
“One could be forgiven for thinking, that as ‘She stood’ beneath the Cross, the sufferings endured by the Blessed Virgin Mary, were in actuality, an ‘event’ in themselves. In a most delicate and imperceptible way, Father Armand de Malleray, with adept contemplative precision, offers to us these reflections. His Commentary on the Stabat Mater is not for the faint hearted, it is an invitation offered to us all, of ‘standing with’ Mary on Calvary. Alike to that of the Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mary is depicted, comparable with her Son, as a figure pierced to the spot, not by nails, but by a sword of sorrow. This moving Commentary on the Stabat Mater, discloses for us, in a simple, yet most piteous way, at what cost we were redeemed.”
Mother Bernadette of the Heart of Mary OCD, Prioress of the Carmelite Monastery in Birkenhead, England