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Sanctorum meritis

Sing, O Sons of the Church

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Sanctorum meritis inclyta gaudia
    Pangamus socii, gestaque fortia:
    Gliscens fert animus promere cantibus
    Victorum genus optimum.
  2. Hi sunt, quos fatue mundus abhorruit;
    Hunc fructu vacuum, floribus aridum
    Contempsere tui nominis asseclæ
    Jesu Rex bone cœlitum.
  3. Hi pro te furias, atque minas truces
    Calcarunt hominum, sævaque verbera:
    His cessit lacerans fortiter ungula,
    Nec carpsit penetralia.
  4. Cæduntur gladiis more bidentium:
    Non murmur resonat, non querimonia;
    Sed corde impavido mens bene conscia
    Conservat patientiam.
  5. Quæ vox, quæ poterit lingua retexere,
    Quæ tu Martyribus munera præparas?
    Rubri nam fluido sanguine fulgidis
    Cingunt tempora laureis.
  6. Te summa o Deitas, unique poscimus;
    Ut culpas abigas, noxia subtrahas,
    Des pacem famulis, ut tibi gloriam
    Annorum in seriem canant.
  1. Sing, O Sons of the Church sounding the Martyrs’ praise!
    God’s true soldiers applaud, who, in their weary days,
    Won bright trophies of good, glad be the voice ye raise,
    While these heroes of Christ ye sing!
  2. They, while yet in the world were by the world abhorred;
    Felt how fading the joys, fleeting the wealth it stored;
    Spurned all pleasure for Thee, and at Thy call, O Lord,
    Came forth strong in Thy Name, as King.
  3. Lord, how bravely they bore fury and pain for Thee!
    Scourge, rod, sword, and the rack strongly endured; but free
    Sang out, bold in Thy love, longing on high to be;
    Earth’s might never their souls could bend.
  4. While they, shedding their blood, victims for Jesus fell,
    No sound out of their lips came of their throes to tell;
    Bowed low, patient and meek, loving the Lord so well,
    Turned they still to the Christ, their Friend.
  5. What joys, bright with the blood shed for thy love they share,
    Those brave Martyrs of Thine crowned with Thy laurels rare;
    Man’s tongue never can tell, never can half declare,
    How pure now is their bliss above!
  6. Yet we, Father on high, God of eternal might,
    Lift weak voices in prayer asking for peace and light;
    Cleanse Thou out of our hearts every stain and blight,
    So our songs may be songs of love.
Author: Unknown, 8th cent. Meter: Asclepiadic and Glyconic. Translation by D. J. Donahoe. There are thirteen translations. Liturgical Use: Vespers Hymn. There is an exceptionally interesting article on the Sanctorum mentis, in the Cath. Encycl. J. M. Neale’s translation, which is found in most hymn books, is in the Baltimore Manual of Prayers, p. 651.
  1. “Let us sing, O companions, the heroic deeds of the Saints and the glorious delights merited by them: the soul glowing with zeal strives to celebrate in song the noblest kind of conquerors.”
  2. “These are they whom the world foolishly abhorred; but, O Jesus, good King of the Blessed, the followers of Thy Name despised the world as void of fruit and parched of flowers.” Hunc, sc, mundum.
  3. “For Thy sake they despised the rage, the savage threats, and the brutal blows of men: the fiercely lacerating hook yields to them, nor does it rob them of their inner lives.” Penetralia, the life of the soul.
  4. “Like sheep, they are slaughtered by the sword: no murmur is heard, no complaint; but with dauntless courage, the soul self-possessed preserves its patience.”
  5. “What voice, what tongue can recount the gifts which Thou dost prepare for Thy Martyrs? For, red with flowing blood they bind their temples with resplendent laurels.”
  6. “We beseech Thee, O supreme and only Godhead, that Thou banish our sins from Thy sight, drive away all evils, and grant peace to Thy servants, that they may sing glory to Thee forever.”