Thought for the Day – 16 November – I grieve, Mary, for thy son and thee.

Thought for the Day – 16 November – The Memorial of St Edmund Rich of Abingdon (1175-1240) Archbishop of Canterbury

St Edmund’s best-known work in the Middle Ages was his Speculum Ecclesie.   It’s a work on the contemplative life, offering (among other things) meditations on different moments in the life of Christ, aiming to help the reader to enter imaginatively into the scenes of His Passion and feel intense compassion for His sufferings.   I don’t know whether people read the Speculum Ecclesie today, but most students of Middle English will have read a poem which survives as part of it.   This is one of the earliest, shortest and most popular devotional poems in Middle English:

Nou goth sonne under wod,
Me reweth, Marie, thi faire rode.
Nou goth sonne under tre,
Me reweth, Marie, thi sone and thee.

Now goes the sun under the wood,
I grieve, Mary, for your fair face.
Now goes the sun under the tree,
I grieve, Mary, for thy son and thee.

This short poem is designed to be a spur to meditation on the Crucifixion, perhaps at the appropriate hour of the day when the sun begins to set.   Apparently very simple, the poem is dense with meaningful wordplay – as the sun sets behind the wood, so Christ the Son is shrouded in darkness on the wood of the cross, the tree; that is, the ‘rode’, which means both ‘face’ and ‘rood’ (cross).   And here we have another pair of a mother and her son, and their strong emotional bond (like St Edmund himself and his mother).   The poem encourages the reader to meditate and dwell on Christ’s Crucifixion by approaching the Son through the Mother, to feel compassion for His suffering as it is reflected in her grief (underlined by that wordplay on ‘rode’ – (His cross and her face). How wonderful it is that this poem should be associated with a saint whose mother was such an important presence in his life.

Back in Abingdon, the Catholic church is dedicated to him and to the Virgin Mary, the mother and bride who was so constant a presence in his spiritual life.

Mother of Sorrows, Pray for Us!

St Edmund, Pray for Us!mother of sorrows pray for us 16 nov 2019



Passionate Catholic. Being a Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site, which is now using the Traditional Calendar, will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. This Site is placed under the Patronage of my many favourite Saints and especially, St Paul. "For the Saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings. PLEASE ADVISE ME OF ANY GLARING TYPOS etc - In June 2021 I lost 95% sight in my left eye and sometimes miss errors. Thank you and I pray all those who visit here will be abundantly blessed. Pax et bonum! 🙏

4 thoughts on “Thought for the Day – 16 November – I grieve, Mary, for thy son and thee.

  1. Middle English fascinates me. A language written and spoke by the common folks. I have read Chaucer as I come across bits and pieces haven’i found an affordable book in middle English.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to God's Geological/ Astrophysical Math Signs Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s