Day 5: Mother of Sorrows & Greenest Branch

Video, Audio and Written Guides for Morning and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer: Mother of Sorrows

Video podcast coming in May 2023

OPENING PRAYER
Mother of Sorrows, you tend the threshold of our of lives, knowing both the profound joy and grief that life can bring. Help us let go of illusions and face painful realities. Crack open our intuition and empathy that we may cultivate compassion for ourselves and others as we recognize we have all been wounded in some way. Allow the river of grief to flow freely through us as we embrace all aspects of being.

OPENING SONGRequiem

FIRST READING: Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Even yet in the midst of all our bandages and broken spirit-bones, [Mary] calls us to stop mis-thinking that we stand alone in our challenges, when in fact, she ever stands with us. We ought ever flee to her side, ever hide under her shoulder, ever shelter under her inviolate mantle, ever be guided by her wisdom so hard-won—for she too bore miracles, menacings, and sufferings in her life. She too lost everything precious to her soul in the darkened world of human fools, foibles, and frailties of spirit.

SUNG PSALM OPENING
O Peace, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM 119 v. 25-49
Touch my heart, O God,
for I feel defeated.
Overcome by sorrow, bewildered
by the world and its ways.
I don’t know how to be good.
I’m not sure which way to go.
I turn to you.
Teach my heart.
I will listen.
I will follow my desire for you.
Keep me focused, O God—
not chasing after security or fleeting pleasures.
Help me desire what is deep and abiding—
And find joy and satisfaction in You.

SUNG DOXOLOGY
Glory to the Maker, Lover, and Keeper; as ago, in this breath, and will be ever. Amen, Amen.

As we contemplate scripture this day, let us experience Mary’s presence with us in our places of deepest grief.

SECOND READING: The Gospel According to John (19:25b-27 – NRSV)
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

SILENT CONTEMPLATION

PRAYERS OF CONCERN
We offer prayers now for all that is on our hearts.

Compassionate One, as a mother cradles her newborn and gazes upon her child with a heart overflowing with love, hold us in times of sorrow and open us to your love when we are hurting. As Mary’s womb bore new life, may our suffering give birth to healing which eases pain, hope which transforms despair, and love which deepens our faith in you.

SUNG RESPONSE
Our Lady of Sorrows, be our guide. Creator God, empower us.

Holy Mother Mary, at the cross you witnessed unmentionable agony. We remember the many mothers who have lost children – the black sons shot by white police, the beautiful daughter stillborn, the addicted teenager’s accidental overdose, the young men who stood up for justice disappeared. Help us to stay long enough with one another’s pain until Love’s miraculous healing breaks through.

SUNG RESPONSE
Our Lady of Sorrows, be our guide. Creator God, empower us.

Sorrowful Mary, as you mourned for your son you also mourn with humankind in every sorrow. We join our sorrow with yours. We mourn the senseless loss of life in war, the prejudiced violence that stunts fullness of life, the greed that exploits both people and earth’s rich resources. We weep with you, yet we also hope with you. May the salt of your tears be a healing balm to our wounded lives and eco-system.

SUNG RESPONSE
Our Lady of Sorrows, be our guide. Creator God, empower us.

Please add the prayers you are longing to express.

SUNG RESPONSE
Our Lady of Sorrows, be our guide. Creator God, empower us.

CLOSING SONGListen to My Sighing

CLOSING BLESSING
Mary, you are the bearer of grief,
your own heart wounded seven times,
pierced by life’s stripping away.
You know the heart of sorrow;
help us to walk the landscape of loss.
Support us when we want to turn
away and numb ourselves.
Be with us as we endure
the heart’s hollowing out.
For the loss of every person,
dream, creature, every life
we know you hear our cries
and the cries of all those who suffer.
Show us the pathway into
the center of our mourning.
Help us keep alive the deep love we carry,
wail with us, weep with us,
hold us as we are carried by the river of grief,
let us feel the ache of our loss.

SUNG AMEN

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer written by Christine Valters Paintner, arranged by Melinda Thomas

Opening Song: Requiem by Eliza Gilkyson (sung by Simon de Voil) from the album Birthing the Holy: Singing with Mary and the Sacred Feminine

First Reading from Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Untie the Strong Woman (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2011), 34

Sung Psalm Opening and Doxology by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

Interpretation of Psalm 119 v. 25-49 by Rev. Christine Robinson

Second Reading from The Gospel According to John (19:25b-27 – NRSV)

Prayers of Concern written by Valerie Allen

SUNG RESPONSE based on Litany of Mary by Laura Ash. Adapted & recorded by Simon de Voil and Alexa Sunshine Rose

Closing Song: Listening to My Sighing by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

Closing Blessing written by Christine Valters Paintner from Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and  Renewal used with permission from Ave Maria Press

Please note: All of the songs and prayer responses are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs & responses have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  Audio and video recordings of the Prayer Cycles are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.

Evening Prayer: Greenest Branch

Video podcast coming in May 2023

OPENING PRAYER
Mary, Greenest Branch, Mother of Moist Earth, teach us the interconnectedness and intercommunion of all levels of created life with each other and with God as Source. Enliven viriditas – the greening power of God – within us so we are filled with creative fecundity. Help us to see God’s love energizing the world, making it living and fruitful, a place where all are welcome, all deserve this lavish attention, and every part of created life is filled with vitality.

OPENING SONGVeriditas

SUNG PSALM OPENING
O Peace, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM 65
It is good to give thanks,
for the boundless mercy
which renews us and makes us whole.
Happy are those who know this
and open themselves to the Light.
and sing—

You make the sunrise and the sunset shout for joy.
You are the earth’s fertility.
Your law governs her cycles of snow, run-off, flood, and rain.
You crown the year with abundance.
The wild lands are watered with dew.
The hills deck themselves with green.
The meadows adorn themselves with flocks,
The valleys gown themselves with grain.
They dance together.
They join in song.

SUNG DOXOLOGY
Glory to the Maker, Lover, and Keeper; as ago, in this breath, and will be ever. Amen, Amen.

READING OF THE NIGHT: Courtney Hall Lee
As the Mother of Life, [Mary] required no male seed in order to birth the Christ-child. . . .[H]er virginity points to her intrinsic power to always bloom, resource and create—no matter what is going on around her. . . . Mary was the personification of the Mother Moist Earth. Just as Mother Moist Earth brought everything to life, even stones—Mary brought everything to life, even God.

SILENT CONTEMPLATION

CLOSING SONG: O Viridissima Virga

CLOSING BLESSING:
Blessed Mary, you are the greenest branch.
The power of God’s greening
in the world flows through you freely.
Spirit breathes and you become fertile and lush,
a source of life.
With your yes you opened a channel of verdant grace.
St. Hildegard celebrated you in song and poetry,
saw your radiant greenness as a path of life for all.
Green Madonna, blow your Viriditas over us,
help us clear the way of anything that drains us of life.
Help us release the dryness which depletes us
and leaves us with despair.
Shower us with energy, with joy,
with hope and possibility.
Let our souls deepen their greening,
nurturing and nourishing the dreams
we tend, help them to grow strong and vibrant
ready to become of service to the world.

SUNG AMEN

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer written by Christine Valters Paintner, arranged by Melinda Thomas

Opening Song: Viriditas by Betsey Beckman from the album Singing with Saints and Mystics

Psalm Opening and Doxology by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

Interpretation of Psalm 65 by Rev. Christine Robinson

Reading of the Night from Courtney Hall Lee, Black Madonna: A Womanist Look at Mary of Nazareth (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017,)

Closing Song: O Viridissima Virga written by Hildegard of Bingen (sung by Laura Ash) from the album Birthing the Holy: Singing with Mary and the Sacred Feminine 

Closing Blessing written by Christine Valters Paintner from Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and  Renewal used with permission from Ave Maria Press

Please note: All of the songs and prayer responses are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs & responses have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  Audio and video recordings of the Prayer Cycles are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.