Jesus is taken down from the Cross and given to his Mother

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigeniti.

In the arms of his Mother they have placed the lifeless body of the Son. The Gospels say nothing of what she felt at that moment.
It is as though by their silence the Evangelists wished to respect her sorrow, her feelings and her memories. Or that they simply felt incapable of expressing them. It is only the devotion of the centuries that has preserved the figure of the “Pietą”, providing Christian memory with the most sorrowful image of the ineffable bond of love which blossomed in the Mother’s heart on the day of the Annunciation and ripened as she waited for the birth of her divine Son.

That love was revealed in the cave at Bethlehem
and was tested already during the Presentation in the Temple.
It grew deeper as Mary stored and pondered in her heart all that was happening (cf. Lk 2:51).
Now this intimate bond of love must be transformed into a union which transcends the boundary between life and death.
And thus it will be across the span of the centuries:
people pause at Michelangelo’s statue of the Pietą, they kneel before the image of the loving and sorrowful Mother (Smetna Dobrodziejka) in the Church of the Franciscans in Kraków,
before the Mother of the Seven Sorrows, Patroness of Slovakia,
they venerate Our Lady of Sorrows in countless shrines in every part of the world.
And so they learn the difficult love which does not flee from suffering, but surrenders trustingly to the tenderness of God, for whom nothing is impossible (cf. Lk 1:37).


Salve, Regina, Mater misericordię;
vita dulcedo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus...
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte
et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exilium ostende

Implore for us the grace of faith, hope and charity,
so that we, like you,
may stand without flinching beneath the Cross
until our last breath.
To your Son, Jesus, our Saviour,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory for ever and ever.

R. Amen.


Our Father . . .

Stabat Mater:

Let me mingle tears with you,
mourning him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.