Stabat Mater Playlist: A "Soundtrack" for Holy Saturday

The hymn "Stabat Mater" describing Mary's sorrow at the foot of the Cross has been set to music countless times by composers over the centuries. Their renditions of this moving song can help you to accompany Our Lady on this Holy Saturday.

Listen to the Stabat Mater Playlist here

Holy Saturday is a day of waiting, praying, and hoping. Christian tradition dedicates Saturdays to our Lady because on Holy Saturday – today – she alone understood that her Son would rise on Easter Sunday, and waited for Him. And as St. Josemaria wrote in the 13th station of the The Way of the Cross, "The Blessed Virgin is our Mother, and we do not wish to, we cannot, leave her alone."

Music helps us to raise our hearts to God; we can pray by listening to Marian hymns, allowing the music to play in our souls, even without words. We have compiled a list of links to songs that could help you accompany our Lady, beginning with Giulio Caccini and Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria." The 13th century hymn "Stabat Mater" describes Mary's sorrow at the foot of the Cross, and of the many composers who have set the hymn to music, we suggest starting to pray with the compositions of Zoltan Kodaly, Marco Frisina, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Gioachino Rossini, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Antonio Vivaldi, Antonín Dvořák, Agostino Steffani, and Joseph Haydn.

Bishop Javier Echevarría, commenting on the "Stabat Mater" in a homily on the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination, said, "'Sancta Mater, istud agas, Crucifixi fige plagas cordi meo valide' (which means) 'Holy Mother! pierce me through, in my heart each wound renew of my Savior crucified.' As a fruit of that identification with her crucified Son, I beg Holy Mary to teach me – to teach us all – to love Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit ever more. 'Fac ut ardeat cor meum in amando Christum Deum' (which means) 'Make me feel as thou hast felt; make my soul to glow and melt with the love of Christ my Lord.' Amen."

Below, we offer Fr. Edward Caswall's English translation of the "Stabat Mater":

At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful mother weeping,
⁠Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish hearing,
⁠Now at length the sword had pass'd.
Oh, how sad and sore distress'd
Was that Mother, highly blest
⁠Of the sole begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
⁠Of her dying glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
Whelmed in miseries so deep,
⁠Christ's dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
⁠In that Mother's pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child
⁠All with bloody scourges rent;
For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
⁠Till His Spirit forth He sent.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
⁠Make my heart with thine accord;
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
⁠With the love of Christ my Lord.
Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
⁠Of my Saviour crucified;
Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
⁠Who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
⁠All the days that I may live:
By the Cross with thee to stay;
There with thee to weep and pray;
⁠Is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgin of all virgins best!
Listen to my fond request:
⁠Let me share thy grief divine;
Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
⁠Of that dying Son of thine.