Regis superni nuntia
God’s messenger, Theresa
Author: Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644).
Meter: Iambic dimeter.
Translation by D. J. Donahoe. There are four
Liturgical Use: Hymn for Vespers and
Matins. St. Teresa (1515-1582) was an illustrious member
of the Carmelite Order. A brief account of her wonderful
life is given in the Cath. Encycl., and a more extended
biography in Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Note the
spelling: Teresa, Teresia, Theresa.
- Regis superni nuntia,
Domum paternam deseris,
Terris Teresa barbaris
Christum datura, aut sanguinem.
- Sed te manet suavior
Mors, pœna poscit dulcior:
Divini amoris cuspide
In vulnus icta concides.
- O caritatis victima!
Tu corda nostra concrema,
Tibique gentes creditas
Averni ab igne libera.
- Sit laus Patri cum Filio
Et Spiritu Paraclito,
Tibique sancta Trinitas,
Nunc, et per omne sæculum.
- God’s messenger, Theresa,
Thou leav’st thy father’s home
To bring mankind to Jesus
Or gain sweet martyrdom.
- But milder death awaits thee,
And fonder pains are thine,
God’s blessed Angel wounds thee
With fire of love divine.
- Sweet virgin, love’s pure victim,
So fire our souls with love,
And lead thy trusting people
Safe to the realms above.
- Give glory to the Father,
The Spirit and the Son,
One Trinity, one Godhead,
While endless ages run.
- “As a herald of the heavenly King, thou dost leave,
O Teresa, thy father’s house to give to barbarous lands
either Christ or thy blood.” As a mere child, Teresa and
her little brother actually set out for the country of the
Moors, with the hope of dying for their faith. Much to
their disappointment they were intercepted by an uncle
and restored to their distracted mother.
- “But a sweeter death awaits thee, a more delightful
pain claims thee: pierced even unto being wounded by a
shaft of divine love, thou dost fall.” This stanza refers
to the Transverberation of the Saint’s heart. In her autobiography
she tells us that an Angel appeared to her, and—“He
had in his hand a long golden dart, and at the end of
the point me thought there was a little fire; and I conceived
that he thrust it several times through my heart and
after such a manner that it passed through my very bowels;
and when he drew it out, methought it pulled them
out with it, and left me wholly inflamed with a great love
of God” (Butler’s Lives). Her body is still preserved
incorrupt at Alba in Spain, and “her heart, too, showing
the marks of the Transverberation is exposed there for the
veneration of the faithful” (Cath. Encycl.). There is an
Office and Mass in honor of the Transverberatio Cordis 8.
Teresiæ (Aug. 27).
- “O victim of love, inflame our hearts, and deliver
from the fires of hell the nations entrusted to thee.”
Copyright Benziger Brothers, 1922. Online Edition Copyright David M. Cheney, 2019.