Clarum Decus Jejunii

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Daniel in the lions' den, his hands raised in prayer, is an apt illustration of this hymn for Vigils. The hymns marked I are for Sundays; the hymns marked II are for weekdays. One might also alternate them.

Vigils or Office of Readings II

Bright beauty of the Lenten Fast
By heaven taught, on earth displayed;
Which Christ, in silent desert hid,
By his own fast has sacred made.

On Sinai's height with trumpet blast
The Law to Moses fasting came;
Elijah, fasting, rose aloft
In soaring chariot of flame.

So Daniel, saved from lions, saw
God's mysteries in coming years;
So John, the Bridegroom's loving friend,
In chaste and radiant truth appears.

O grace us, God of love, we pray,
Their paths of temperance to choose;
To those made weak by sin, give strength,
In ev'ry soul your joy infuse.

Grant this, O Father, through the Son,
In Spirit-Breath, bestow your grace,
That when these forty days are passed
We may exult before your face. Amen.


O Lord give us the sobriety necessary for the Lenten Fast...that recollected, we may repent of all our failures and grievous sins...and may yet have that image restored to us of our baptismal innocence that we so desire! Renew within us that call to spiritual arms that will help us to fight and struggle on and at last be gifted with crown of life eternal. Grant to our poor fallen minds remembrance of our past transgressions and utter dark moments when we were filled with selfish aims and that we might weep with Your Most Holy Mother at the foot of Your Holy Cross and become transformed to rise again into what You call us to be: a new creation...Your body...alive and vibrant in the midst of the fallen world around us. O Lord hear us and have pity on us...for we have not been what we been what we could have been---nor even what we should have been, but only what we fashioned from the gold we found in our possession---and so we made idols of created things...and overlooked You, the God of all creation. O how pitible are we! Give us yet more time and the grace to use it well, that we may still beg Your mercy and grace for our souls! While it is still light...grant us moments of solitude and communion with You---so that we may transform our souls by Your grace into that vigilant man awaiting Resurrection with You! O God grant that this be so through the power of Your Holy Spirit, forever and ever, Amen.

Have mercy Lord and grant to our poor prayers a heartfelt hearing in the Holy Name of Jesus Our Risen Lord and Saviour!

Is there any reliable report of the date or authorship of this hymn?

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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