Remembering a Sequence

Today, the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, was one of those rare chances I had to use a sequence during our liturgical life. The Stabat Mater, though it appears under the heading for Lent in the hymnal our parish uses, was sung this warm autumn evening. The use of the sequence provided a great opportunity not only to catechize about the historical development of liturgy but also (and certainly more valuably) to model for the community gathered there the relationship between popular devotions and the official liturgy. Singing the same Stabat Mater as is used for countless Lenten devotions this day after the Exaltation of that Cross at which our Mater Dolorosa kept watch invited all of us gathered there to see ourselves as the beloved disciples sharing not only in the seven sorrows but also in Christ’s triumph of the cross, that once ignominious instrument of death now paradoxically become the tree of life from which we find new life, like our mother, as we eat of its freely given fruit.

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