“I was sitting with Abba Poemen one day and I saw him in ecstasy and as I was on terms of great freedom of speech with him, I prostrated myself before him and begged him, saying, ‘Tell me where you were.’ He was forced to answer and he said, ‘My thought was with Saint Mary, the Mother of God, as she wept by the cross of the Saviour. I wish I could always weep like that.’”
Come, O Mother, love’s sweet spring,
Let me share thy sorrowing,
Let my tears unite with thine.
Let my heart be all on fire,
Still to seek with fond desire
Christ, my God, my Love divine.
Holy Mother, this impart,
Deeply print within my heart,
All the wounds my Saviour bore.
The experience of Abba Poemen in the fourth century, like that of the author of the Stabat Mater, the “queen of sequences” in the Middle Ages, attests to a sweet and compelling gift of the Holy Spirit to souls in every age: the desire to approach the Blessed Virgin Mary in her sorrows and to avail oneself of the grace of her tears.