For my friend, Monsignor A.B.C.
Sometime in the early 1970s the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey Pax Cordis Iesu at Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, made an outstanding contribution to the prayer of English-speaking Catholics by translating the entire corpus of hymns found in the Liturgia Horarum. There is a pressing need to make the hymns of the Liturgia Horarum available to those who pray the Hours in English. Here are the hymns for Vespers and Lauds from December 17-24 in the Ryde Abbey translation.
The Word, Salvation for us all,
Proceeding from the Father’s mouth,
Receive, O Mary Virgin blest
Within your chaste and spotless womb.
The Holy Spirit’s fruitful cloud
Has overshadowed you with love,
that you may bring forth Christ our Lord
The Father’s Ever-Equal Son.
She is the holy Temple’s gate
Forever closed and chastely sealed
Whose sacred portal is reserved
To open for the King alone.
To prophets promised long ago,
And borne before the birth of light,
Whom Gabriel announced with joy,
The Lord Himself comes down to earth.
Let all the angels gladly sing,
All peoples of the earth exult;
In lowly guise the Most High comes
To save the world which sin had lost.
O Christ our King and tender Lord
All glory ever be to You,
Who with the Holy Spirit reign
With God the Father might supreme. Amen.
Of old the prophets cried aloud,
Foretelling Christ would surely come,
Theirs was the special grace to know
That man’s redemption was at hand.
Hence radiates our joy at dawn,
Our happy hearts rejoice and sing,
Proclaiming now our earnest faith
In glory long since promised us.
This humble coming known to few,
Was not to judge a sinful world
But all our wounds to tend and heal,
By saving what had gone astray.
His second coming will declare
That Christ is at our very doors,
To crown all those who love Him well
And welcome them to lasting bliss.
Eternal light is promised us,
The star of our salvation shines,
Already its bright gleaming rays
Call us to keep the law of love.
Lord Jesus Christ, we seek but You,
To see You, God yet truly Man,
So that this vision blest may be
Our never-ending hymn of praise. Amen.