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Æterna Christi munera

The eternal gifts of Christ the King

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Æterna Christi munera,
    Apostolorum gloriam,
    Palmas et hymnos debitos
    Lætis canamus mentibus.
  2. Ecclesiarum Principes,
    Belli triumphales duces
    Cœlestis aulæ milites,
    Et vera mundi lumina.
  3. Devota sanctorum fides,
    Invicta spes credentium,
    Perfecta Christi caritas
    Mundi tyrannum conterit.
  4. In his Paterna gloria,
    In his triumphat Filius,
    In his voluntas Spiritus,
    Cœlum repletur gaudio.
  5. Patri, simulque Filio,
    Tibique sancta Spiritus,
    Sicut fuit, sit jugiter
    Sæclum per omne gloria.
  1. The eternal gifts of Christ the King,
    The Apostles’ glory, let us sing;
    And all with hearts of gladness raise
    Due hymns of thankful love and praise.
  2. For they the Church’s Princes are,
    Triumphant leaders in the war,
    The heavenly King’s own warrior band,
    True lights to lighten every land.
  3. Theirs was the steadfast faith of Saints,
    The hope that never yields nor faints,
    The love of Christ in perfect glow,
    That lay the prince of this world low.
  4. In them the Father’s glory shone,
    In them the Spirit’s will was done,
    The Son Himself exults in them;
    Joy fills the new Jerusalem.
  5. Praise to the Father, with the Son,
    And Holy Spirit, Three in One;
    As ever was in ages past,
    And so shall be while ages last.
Author: St. Ambrose (340-397). Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation based on Neale. There are thirteen translations. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on feasts of the Apostles and Evangelists. This hymn was originally written for feasts of Martyrs. In its complete form it contained eight stanzas. The hymn Christum profusum sanguinem, for Martyrs in Paschaltide, is a part of the Æterna Christi munera. The above hymn consists of stanzas 1, 2, 6, 7, of the original.
  1. “Let us sing with joyful hearts songs of triumph and becoming hymns, let us sing the glory of the Apostles, and the eternal gifts of Christ.” The construction in this stanza is unusual. Canamus is the predicate of the whole stanza. Palmas: fig., victories; here, hymns of victory.
  2. “They are the princes of the Church, the triumphant leaders of the war, the soldiers of the heavenly court, and the true lights of the world.”
  3. “The steadfast faith of the Saints, the unyielding hope of believers, the perfect charity of Christ trample under foot the tyrant of the world.” Tyrannum, the devil.
  4. “In them triumphs the glory of the Father; in them triumphs the Son; in them the will of the Holy Spirit is accomplished, and heaven is filled with joy.”