July 31, 2013

Immortal, Invisible

Unresting, Unhasting, and Silent as Light

Immortal, Invisible, God was written by the Scottish poet and clergyman, Walter C. Smith (1824-1908). It was first published in 1867 as part of his collection: Hymns of Christ and the Christ­ian Life. Smith was a prominent  pastor in the Free Church of Scotland and was elected it's moderator in 1893. He was well known for his poetry, and published a number of volumes. Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise is sung to the tune: St. Den­io, a Welsh ballad of unknown authorship first published in 1839 as part of the collection Can­ai­dau y Cyssegr, edited by John Ro­berts (1807-1876). In the Divine Office it is used with the Office of Readings.

Tune: St. Den­io

IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, GOD ONLY WISE by Wal­ter C. Smith, 1876 (Public Domain)

1. Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

2. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

3. To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

4. Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.

5. All laud we would render; O help us to see
’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee,
And so let Thy glory, Almighty, impart,
Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.

July 28, 2013

God Hath Spoken by His Prophets

Each From Age to Age Proclaiming

God Hath Spoken by His Prophets was written by the Anglican clergyman and hymn writer, George W. Briggs (1875-1959). It was first published in 1953 as part of his collection: Ten New Hymns from the Bi­ble. It is often sung to the tune, Hymn to Joy (see 2nd video) from the 9th Symphony by Lud­wig van Beet­ho­ven (1770-1827). Shown in the 1st video is a popular alternative melody, Rex Gloriae by Henry T. Smart (1813-1879). In the Divine Office, God Hath Spoken by His Prophets is used with the Office of Readings.

Tune: Rex Gloriae

Tune: Hymn to Joy

July 24, 2013

O God, Creation's Secret Force / Rerum, Deus, Tenax Vigor

Thyself Unmoved, All Motion's Source

O God, Creation's Secret Force is a translation of the 4th century Latin hymn, Rer­um De­us Ten­ax Vi­gor attributed to St. Ambrose of Milan (340-397). Rer­um De­us Ten­ax Vi­gor (see 2nd video) is the traditional hymn at None (Mid-Afternoon Prayer) in the Roman Breviary. Like the other hymns for the daytime hours of Terse and Sext, this brief hymn concludes with a doxology that would change throughout the year to reflect the liturgical season or Feast Day. In 1852 it was translated into English by the Anglican clergyman, John M. Neale (1818-1866). In the Divine Office, his hymn: O God, Creation's Secret Force is set to the tune: Splendor Paternae Gloriae, based upon the anonymous 13th century plainsong melody of the same name. In the Divine Office it is used with the Office of Readings. For an alternative translation, see: O Strength and Stay.

Tune: Splendor Paternae Gloriae

O GOD, CREATION’S SECRET FORCE by John M. Neale, 1852 (Public Domain)

O God, creation’s secret force,
Thyself unmoved, all motion’s source,
Who from the morn till evening ray
Through all its changes guid’st the day:

Grant us, when this short life is past,
The glorious evening that shall last;
That, by a holy death attained,
Eternal glory may be gained.

O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.

Ambrosian Chant

RERUM, DEUS, TENAX VIGOR - attributed to St Ambrose (Public Domain)

Rerum, Deus, tenax vigor,
immotus in te permanens,
lucis diurnae tempora
successibus determinans,

Largire clarum vespere,
quo vita numquam decidat,
sed praemium mortis sacrae
perennis instet gloria.

Praesta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
cum Spiritu Paraclito
regnans er omne saeculum. Amen.

July 19, 2013

Index of Marian Hymns and Antiphons

Because the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) plays a central role in the story of Salvation History (see video commentary by Fr. Robert Barron below), she holds a prominent place in the Liturgy of the Hours. This honor is most clearly shown in the Common of the BVM which is used on Marian Feast Days. Extending from the Common is the Optional Memorial of the BVM prayed on Saturdays. As well, the Little Office of the BVM which, although separate from the Liturgy of the Hours, originated in the 8th century as a variation of the Common of the BVM. The one other place where Marian devotion plays a special role in the Liturgy of the Hours is at the conclusion of Night Prayer (Compline). After we have entrusted ourselves to God, the Father as his children ready for sleep, we ask Mary, Our Mother to pray for us. The following is the complete list of all Marian hymns and antiphons posted on this website. Related Post: Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

A Noble Flower of Juda
A Solis Ortus Cardine
All Creation was Renewed
Alma Redemptoris Mater
Ave Maria
Ave Maris Stella (1)
Ave Maris Stella (2)
Ave Maris Stella (3)
Ave Regina Caelorum

Behold a Rose of Judah
Behold a Virgin Bearing Him

Caelestis Aulae Nuntius

Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, Our Queen and Mother Blest
Hail Queen of Heaven, Beyond Compare
Hail, Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star
Holy Light on Earth’s Horizon
Holy Mary, Now We Crown You 

Iam Morte, Victor, Obruta
In Monte Olivis Consito

Joy Fill Your Heart, O Queen Most High
Joy to You 

Maiden, Yet A Mother
Mary, Crowned with Living Light
Mary Immaculate, Star of the Morning
Mary the Dawn
Mother of Christ, Hear Thou Thy People's Cry
Mother of Christ
Mother of Holy Hope

Now Hell is Vanquished

O Gloriosa Domina
O Gloriosa Virginum
O Mary, of All Women
O Most Holy One
O Santíssima
O Virgin Mother of Our God

Praise to Mary, Heaven's Gate

Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven, Rejoice
Quem Terra, Pontus, Aethera
Quem Terra, Pontus, Sidera

Regina Caeli

Salve Regina
Star of Sea and Ocean

Te Gestientem Gaudiis
Te Sicimus Praeconio
The Ark Which God Has Sanctified
The Gladness of Thy Motherhood
The Messenger from God's High Throne
The Mount of Olives Witnesseth

Virgin-Born, We Bow Before You

What Child is This
Who is She Ascends So High?

July 14, 2013

This Day, at Thy Creating Word

Fill Our Souls With Light Divine 

This Day, at Thy Creating Word was written in 1871 by the Anglican Bishop, William W. How (1823-1897). His sermons, books, and hymns are noted for their simple, warm, and direct nature in conveying the Gospel, that is in contrast to the often fiery or flowery rhetoric of other 19th century pastors. On a curious note: Bishop How is included as one of the characters in the 1977 play, The Elephant Man, (not the same as the movie). He is depicted as sympathetic to the social and spiritual welfare of John Merrick, 1862-1890 (the real-life Elephant Man) unlike others that see and treat Merrick as something less than human. In the Divine Office, This Day, at Thy Creating Word is sung to the tune Deus Tuorum Militum (Grenoble). First published in the Grenoble Antiphoner of 1753, this anonymous composition is one of the earliest French Catholic diocesan tunes that shows a departure in form from chant to a more congregational style. Another popular setting is to the tune, Winchester New as shown in the 2nd video). In the Divine Office it is sung with the Office of Readings.

Tune: Deus Tuorum Militum

THIS DAY AT THY CREATING WORD by William How, 1871 (Public Domain)

1. This day at thy creating Word
first o'er the earth the light was poured:
O Lord, this day upon us shine
and fill our souls with light divine.

2. This day the Lord for sinners slain
in might victorious rose again:
O Jesus, may we raisèd be
from death of sin to life in thee!

3. This day the Holy Spirit came
with fiery tongues of cloven flame:
O Spirit, fill our hearts this day
with grace to hear and grace to pray.

4. O day of light and life and grace,
from earthly toil sweet resting place,
thy hallowed hours, blest gift of love,
give we again to God above.

5. All praise to God the Father be,
all praise, eternal Son, to thee,
whom, with the Spirit,
we adore forever and forevermore.

Tune: Winchester New

July 11, 2013

Eternal Father, Through Your Word

We Render Homage and All Praise

Eternal Father, Through Your Word is written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. The Abbey was chiefly founded by Gertrude More (1606-1633). Born Helen More, she was a descendent of St. Thomas More. At the age of 17 she entered the re-established Order of the English Benedictine Congregation. She and the other postulates were trained by the Benedictine mystic and writer, Fr. Augustine Baker (1575-1641) in a practice of contemplative prayer that continues down to the present day in the Stanbrook Community. Dame Gertrude More died of small-pox at the age of 27. Eternal Father, Through Your Word is sung to the 1782 tune, Melcombe by Samuel Webbe (1740-1816). In the Divine Office it is used with the Office of Readings.

Tune: Melcombe

July 9, 2013

O God of Truth Prepare Our Minds

To Hear and Heed Your Holy Word

O God of Truth Prepare Our Minds is written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. It is fitting that the Sisters should compose a hymn that prepares us for the reading of Sacred Scripture. The Order has a long tradition of study and reverence of the Word of God that they continue sharing with others up to the present day through their retreats and publications. The suggested tune for O God of Truth Prepare Our Minds is Erfurt, but it may also be sung to Warrington (as shown in the following video). In the Divine Office is is used with the Office of Readings.

Tune: Warrington

July 8, 2013

Be Thou My Vision

O Lord of My Heart

Be Thou my Vision is a translation of the 6th century Gaelic hymn, Rop tú mo baile at­trib­ut­ed to the Irish monk and poet, St. Dallán Forgaill (c.530–598). It is said that he composed it as a tribute to St. Patrick's unwavering faith in God. Down through the centuries the poem has become part of Irish monastic tradition. In 1905, an 8th century manuscript was translated into English by the Irish lin­guist, Ma­ry E. Byrne (1880-1931). In 1912, the writer and Gaelic scholar, El­ea­nor H. Hull (1860-1935) adapted Byrne's translation into verse. In 1919, Hull's verses were paired in the Irish Church Hymnal with the Irish folk tune: Slane, which it is associated with today. In the Divine Office, Be Thou My Vision is used with the Office of Readings.

BE THOU MY VISION by Elea­nor Hull, 1912 (Public Domain)

1. Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

2. Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

3. Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

4. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

5. High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

July 6, 2013

The Saints Who Toiled from Place to Place

Spreading the Gospel of God's Grace

The Saints Who Toiled From Place to Place was written in 1932 by Bishop Walter Howard Frere (1863–1938). He was a co-founder of the Anglican religious order, the Community of the Resurrection and was a leading figure in the liturgical reforms and ecumenical efforts of his time. The Saints Who Toiled From Place to Place can be sung to the well known tune, the Old 100th (see following video). In the Divine Office it is used with the Commons of Apostles and Commons of Martyrs.

Tune: Old 100th

THE SAINTS WHO TOILED FROM PLACE TO PLACE by Walter Frere, 1932 (Public Domain) 

1. The saints who toiled from place to place,
Spreading the Gospel of God's grace,
Now in their heavenly homeland dwell
With Christ, whom here they served so well.

2. Alert at thy command to go,
And everywhere thy word to sow,
They went, O Master, far and wide,
Eager, but yet unsatisfied.

3. Thine was the task they took in hand,
Thine their good news for every land,
Thine was their power, and thine again
Their passion for the souls of men.

4. That task of thine, by them begun,
Must now by our weak hands be done:
Strengthen, O Lord, to work for thee
These hands, at home and over sea.

Our Lord the Path of Suffering Trod

No Shame to Own the Crucified

Our Lord the Path of Suffering Trod is a translation of the 17th century Latin hymn written by Jean-Baptiste de Santeüil (1630-1697), Ex Quo, Sal­us Mor­tal­i­um. The younger brother of poet and hymn writer Claude de San­teüil (1628-1684), Jean-Baptiste was a Can­on Regular of Abbey of St. Vic­tor in Par­is. Although, popular during his lifetime as a writer of Latin poetry (under the pseudonym of San­to­li­us Vic­to­rin­us), most of his hymns were not published until after his death. In 1839, Ex Quo, Sal­us Mor­tal­i­um was translated into English by Isaac Williams (1802-1865). An ordained Anglican Priest, Williams was a contributing member of the Oxford Movement. His translation is set to the anonymous tune, Sal­us Mor­tal­i­um, first published in the Ge­sang­buch of 1663. In the Divine Office, Our Lord the Path of Suffering Trod is used for Morning and Evening Prayer and in the Common of Martyrs.

OUR LORD THE PATH OF SUFFERING TROD by Isaac Williams, 1839 (Public Domain)

1. Our Lord the path of suffering trod;
and, since his sacred blood hath flowed,
'tis meet that man should yield to God
the life he owed. Alleluia! Alleluia!

2. No shame to own the Crucified!
Nay, 'tis our immortality
that we confess our God who died,
and for him die. Alleluia! Alleluia!

3. Seeing above the golden crown,
into death's arms he willing goes:
dying, he conquers death; o'erthrown,
o'erthrows his foes. Alleluia! Alleluia!

4. Lord, make us thine own soldiers true;
that we may gain the spirit pure,
and for thy Name, thy cross in view,
all things endure. Alleluia! Alleluia!

5. Eternal Father of the world,
eternal Word, we thee adore,
eternal Spirit, God and Lord
for evermore. Alleluia! Alleluia!

July 1, 2013

Lead, Kindly Light

The Night is Dark and I Am Far From Home

Lead, Kindly Light was written by John Henry Newman (1801-1890) in 1833. Throughout the first half of that year, Newman accompanied fellow Anglican Priest and early member of the Oxford Movement, Hurrell Froude on a tour of the Mediterranean. While visiting Sicily, Newman became seriously ill and was bedridden for a number of weeks. After recovering he was overcome with a great desire to return to England and continue his work for the Church. On route to Marseille, his sailing ship was delayed by a week of calm weather in the Strait of Bonifacio. It was there, at sea that Newman composed the words to Lead, Kindly Light. The poem was subsequently published in a number of different collections. In 1868 it was included in the popular Church of England hymnal: Hymns Ancient and Modern, and has since become best known as a hymn. When later asked about his hymn's popularity, Newman attributed it to the tune of Lux Benigna, written in 1865 by John B. Dykes (1823-1876) that his verses had been set to. Over the years, it's words of consolation have inspired many musical settings and pairings, both for congregational and choral use. One of the best known is the 1860 tune, Sandon (see 2nd video) by Charles H. Purday (1799-1885). One particular story that relates the deep affection that people have for this hymn involves the Stanley Pit Mine Disaster of 1909. Escaping from poisonous and combustible gas, 34 miners sought refuge in a seam where there was a pocket of air. Huddled in the darkness and fearing the worst, the miners began to sing Lead, Kindly Light. Some of the men later died from the effects of the gas, but most of the them were rescued. In 2010, Lead, Kindly Light was sung at Benedict XVI's Hyde Park Vigil during the Pontiff's tour of the UK in which he celebrated the Beatification of Cardinal Newman. In the Liturgy of the Hours, it is sung or recited at Night Prayer (Compline).

Tune: Lux Benigna

LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT by John Henry Newman, 1833 (Public Domain)

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Tune: Sandon

Contemporary version by Audrey Assad