By night be Thou our heart's repose

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Adoration nocturne Caen.jpg

I came across this hymn for Compline in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed in Les heures du Saint-Sacrement published at Lille in 1856 for L'Association de l'Adoration Perpétuelle of the Bénédictines du Saint-Sacrement. The Association was erected as an archconfraternity by Blessed Pope Pius IX on May 25, 1851. The hymn can be sung to any of the usual Gregorian melodies for Te lucis ante terminum. I give my own translation in italics. With apologies to Father Z of WDPRS fame, it is not slavishly literal. Dear Vincent, would you like to do a metrical translation?

Iesu, sub ara victima,
Verum Deum quem credimus,
Qui carne nos pascis die,
In nocte nostra sis quies.

O Jesu, our altar's sacrifice
Whom we believe to be our very God,
By day Thy flesh becomes our food,
By night be Thou our heart's repose.

Sis mentium pax et cibus,
Et dulce robur cordium;
Sint templa sancti Spiritus,
Quae consecrasti corpora.

Be Thou the peace and nourishment of our souls,
And of our hearts the gentle strength,
Our bodies, by Thy consecration,
Make temples of the Holy Ghost.

Dum nos quiete recreas,
Supplex precaris hostia;
Locus quietis intimae
Nostris sit ara cordibus.

While we slumber, Thou makest us anew,
Thy pleading for us, O Victim, ceaseth not;
Let then the altar of our hearts
For thee become a silent resting-place.

Laus nocte iugis et die
Sit Trinitati gloria,
Quam Filius non desinit
Laudare factus victima. Amen.

Praise by night and praise by day
and glory to the Trinity,
The Victim's offering riseth still
For ceaseless is the Son's own praise.


Dearest Father, I will pray over it and see if I am able to write a worthy metrical version. It is a text that thrills my heart especially at its closing. Laus Deo!

What a beautiful hymn! Please DO publish a singable version when you can, we'd love to use it.

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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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