Author Topic: Gorzkie Zale * Lenten Lamentations  (Read 1537 times)

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Gorzkie Zale * Lenten Lamentations
« on: December 17, 2013, 06:11:15 PM »
Gorzkie Zale * Lenten Lamentations

The Ancient chants retracing the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ form the essence of this typically Polish weekly Lenten service that takes its name from the words of the hymn, "Gorzkie zale przybywajcia" (Come to us, bitter lamentations). Many Poles know the texts of the entire three-part cycle by heart.
The Gorzkie Zale [gosh-geh-zahl-leh] began in Warsaw's Holy Cross Church during the 1700s. The devotion incorporates prose and verse, chant and reading, prayer and meditation, inviting participants to reflect on the mystery of Christian redemption, the Passion and death of the Christ. This deep appreciation for the Passion is seen in the most popular Polish image of Christ, Chrystus Frasobliwy, the so-called "sorrowing Christ," which depicts Christ in the Garden, bent in prayer and sorrow. The Lamentations highlight the very emotional nature of Polish spirituality, inviting a personal identification with the Suffering Lord and His Mother. The devotion is most often preceded by Benediction and chanted kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament.

he Lamentations take the shape of a three-part cycle; one part is sung each service. Each of the three parts has a parallel form and structure, with repeated musical motifs. The text changes from one part to the next. Each of the three cycles of Gorzkie Zale are structured as follows:

A: Introductory Hymn / Pobudka do rozmyslania meki Panskiej:

All three parts begin with the same Introductory Hymn. These same invocations, from which the title Gorzkie Zale is taken, set the truly somber and grieving mood for the lamentations. The opening lines intone: "Gorzkie zale przybywajcia" (Come to us, bitter lamentations), "Serca nasze przenikajcie" (as we prepare our hearts).

Come to us bitter lamentations,
Prepare our hearts.
With eyes tearful, hearts repenting,
Let us grieve with no relenting.
Lo, the sun and stars are fading;
sadness, nature all pervading.
Host of Angels, sadly weeping;
Who'll explain their deep bereaving.
Mountains, cliffs, and rocks are crumbling;
Sealed tombs open, loudly thundering.
Why such grief? Desolation?
Overwhelming all creation?
'Tis our Saviour's sacred passion
Moving all to deep compassion.
Touch our hearts, O Lord most Holy,
With contrite hearts, true and lowly.
My Jesus, By your precious Blood redeem us;
From sin, free my soul.
May our lenten lamentations
Curb false ardor as we contemplate Your Passion.

B: Intentions / Intencja:

This spoken part directs the faithful toward focused contemplation, aiming at three different sections of the Lord's passion. It also guides the faithful in offering their contemplations as acts of veneration and penance.


C: Hymn

The first Hymn focuses on the particular sufferings of Christ.

Sorrow afflicts me, my heart bleeds with pain.
As Sweet Jesus prepares himself for death.
Drenched in bloody sweat, The cup He accepts,
On death he reflects.

Soldiers approach Him while Judas draws near.
To kiss his Master, without shame or fear.
Like hungry wild wolves, they betray our Lord,
Betray our Savior.

The rabble frenzied with fury and hate, Strike blows,
Push, kick Him; lead Him through the gate.
They spit in His face and pull on His hair,
The meek King of the Highest.

One soldier in arms lifts his iron fists,
At the sacred Face blood purples Christ's lips.
Tenderly His eyes look up filled with tears,
The Beloved Heart looks at the crowd who jeers.

Let my heart of stone be smitten with grief,
O my sweet Jesus, cure my unbelief.
I'm sorry, Jesus, for offending You.
My God, I love You.


D: The Soul's Lament / Lament duszy nad cierpiacym Jesuzem:

The Soul's Lament recasts moments of the Passion, interjected with the repeated refrain "Jezu moj kochany! (My beloved Jesus!)."

Jesus, sought by the maddened rabble,
like meekest of lambs driven to Your slaughter,
My Jesus, I love you!

Jesus, for thirty silver pieces
sold ungratefully by Judas the traitor.
My Jesus, I love you!

Jesus, downcast with sorrow and pain,
longing anxiously, death for man's salvation.
My Jesus, I love you!

Jesus, in the dark Olive Garden
shedding bloody sweat, accepting the Chalice.
My Jesus, I love you!

Jesus, snared slyly into cruel hands
by Judas traitor, ungrateful disciple.
My Jesus, I love you!

 Jesus, roughly bound by drugged hirelings;
the rope, coarse and strong tearing your flesh sorely,
My Jesus, I love you!

Jesus, jeered and scoffed by the rabble
before the mock-court of the high-priest Annas.
My Jesus, I love you!

Jesus, dragged rudely through the dark streets
by the beastly mob to the house of Caiaphas.
My Jesus, I love you!

Jesus, struck in the face severely
with an iron glove by Malchus the servant.
My Jesus, I love you!

All hail, O Jesus, All honor to You,
For man degraded, humiliated,
To you, All Holy, praises and glory.
To You, Christ Redeemer.



E: Mary's Dialogue with the Soul / Rozmowa duszy z Matka Bolesna:

The Dialogue includes a conversation with the Blessed Mother, in which she is questioned about her grief and in turn offers answers regarding the nature of her suffering. This aspect of the Gorzkie Zale may be seen as uniquely Polish. It reaffirms the Marian nature of Polish spirituality as expressed in the central icon of Polish Catholicism, Our Lady of Czestochowa. It models this spirituality through its inclusion of Mary's suffering at the center of the Lamentations.

Oh, how sad and sorely stricken,
My soul tried by God, most Holy,
As the sword pierces my heart. (2)

Why, O Beloved Mother, are you worried?
Why your heart so heavily harried?
Why, Mother, are you dismayed? (2)

Ask me not, I'm faint with anguish;
I am speechless and I languish
With the pain that grips my heart. (2)

Tell me, tell me, Blessed Mary,
Why so pale, what grief you carry?
Why so bitterly you weep? (2)

Lo, see my Son dejected
In the Garden, all rejected,
Sweating blood in grief and pain. (2)

O Mother! Fount of love and sorrow,
May my spirit from you borrow
Some of your profound tears! (2)

F: Final Refrain / Ktorys cierpal za nas rany:

The final refrain is repeated three times as the closing motif for the Lamentations. It begs for the Lord's mercy. The thrice-repeated refrain echoes the "Lord have Mercy/ Kyrie" of the Mass and is also sung as the last invocation of each of the Polish Stations of the Cross: "Ktorys za nas cierpial rany, Jezu Chryste, zmiluj sie nad nami."
Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests behave like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious like religious. (Ven. Peter John Fulton Sheen)