Mulier, ecce filius tuus (3rd of 7)
  • francis
    Posts: 10,532
    aha! someone just emailed me on this one. I forgot the second half of the text! will fix in next couple of days.

    ecce mater tua
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    send it soon!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,532

    Roman Catholic Sacred Music

    As I was putting the text into the music, the words overwhelmed me. All I could see was Jesus speaking to John, and Mary looking at Jesus, and then Mary looking at John, and then everyone else around the cross looking at Mary and then at Jesus. And then I saw in Jesus mind that when he says 'behold your mother' he was thinking also of his own eyes when he spoke it. As I weaved the text into the music, I was overcome with a mix of emotions that everyone probably felt, and a certain confusion and separation that was occuring in their hearts. The two phrases are so much alike--'ecce filius tuus' and 'ecce mater tua', just like the two hearts of Jesus and Mary that are so intertwined, that the text and music kept bringing me to tears.

    I found a piece of art (see cover) that closely captures what they all must have experienced at that point in time. The artist (Hans Baldung Grien)is probably little known, but the emotion in his art truly does reflect the sentiments that I experienced in composing this piece.

    This is a description of the scene by Catherine Emmerich from the Dolorous Passion (which is what Mel Gibson used to create his movie).

    "Magdalen, Mary of Cleophas, and John stood near the Cross of our Lord and looked at him, while the Blessed Virgin, filled with intense feelings of motherly love, entreated her Son to permit her to die with him, but he, casting a look of ineffable tenderness upon her, turned to John and said, ‘Woman, behold thy son;’ then he said to John, ‘Behold thy mother’ John looked at his dying Redeemer, and saluted this beloved mother (whom he henceforth considered as his own) in the most respectful manner. The Blessed Virgin was so overcome by grief at these words of Jesus that she almost fainted, and was carried to a short distance from the Cross by the holy women.

    I do not know whether Jesus really pronounced these words, but I felt interiorly that he gave Mary to John as a mother, and John to Mary as a son. In similar visions a person is often conscious of things which are not written, and words can only express a portion of them, although to the individual to whom they are shown they are so clear as not to require explanation. For this reason it did not appear to me in the least surprising that Jesus should call the Blessed Virgin ‘Woman, instead of ‘Mother.’ I felt that he intended to demonstrate that she was that woman spoken of in Scripture who was to crush the head of the serpent, and that then was the moment in which that promise was accomplished in the death of her Son. I knew that Jesus, by giving her as a mother to John, gave her also as a mother to all who believe in him, who become children of God, and are not born of flesh and blood, or of the will of man, but of God. Neither did it appear to me surprising that the most pure, the most humble, and the most obedient among women, who, when saluted by the angel as ‘full of grace,’ immediately replied, ‘Behold Me handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word,’ and in whose sacred womb the Word was instantly made flesh,—that she, when informed by her dying Son that she was to become the spiritual mother of another son, should repeat the same words with humble obedience, and immediately adopt as her children all the children of God, the brothers of Jesus Christ. These things are much easier to feel by the grace of God than to be expressed in words. I remember my celestial Spouse once saying to me, ‘Everything is imprinted in the hearts of those children of the Church who believe, hope, and love.’"