Saved from Hell by the Prayer: Stabat Mater
In his book Glories of Mary, Saint Alphonsus Liguori relates an impressive story about the power of one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Stabat Mater, a prayer to the Sorrowful Mother.
In the city of Cesena, in beautiful Emilia-Romagna, Northern Italy, there were two men who were great friends. They were also great sinners, leading a life far from the precepts of the Gospel and the Ten Commandments.
One of them, Bartholomew, despite his wickedness, had acquired (probably when younger), the habit of daily reciting the Stabat Mater in honor of Mary’s sorrows.
One day, as he recited this prayer, he suddenly had a vision in which he and his friend were immersed in a lake of fire. Then, he saw the Blessed Mother, who, taking him by the hand, pulled him out of the fiery pit saying: “Because of the prayer you said daily to me, I have prayed to my Son for you. He is ready to forgive you, if you are ready to ask pardon of Him.”
Then the vision vanished.
Soon after, Bartholomew received the dire news that his friend had been shot and killed. He now had no doubt that what he had seen was true.
Leaving the world and all its temptations behind, Bartholomew entered the order of Capuchins, led a life of austerity and virtue and died a saint.
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 bearing
now at length the sword had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother highly blessed,
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 sweet 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 Savior crucified.
Let me share with Thee His pain,
who for all our sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with Thee,
mourning Him who mourned 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 blest!,
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.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
be Thy Mother my defense,
be Thy Cross my victory;
While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.