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Verbum supernum prodiens

Celestial Word, to this our earth

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Verbum supernum prodiens,
    E Patris æterni sinu
    Qui natus orbi subvenis
    Labente cursu temporis:
  2. Illumina nunc pectora,
    Tuoque amore concrema,
    Ut cor caduca deserens
    Cœli voluptas impleat.
  3. Ut, cum tribunal Judicis
    Damnabit igni noxios,
    Et vox amica debitum
    Vocabit ad cœlum pios.
  4. Non esca flammarum nigros
    Volvamur inter turbines,
    Vultu Dei sed compotes
    Cœli fruamur gaudiis.
  5. Patri simulque Filio,
    Tibique sancte Spiritus,
    Sicut fuit, sit jugiter
    Sæclum per omne gloria.
  1. Celestial Word, to this our earth
    Sent down from God’s eternal clime,
    To save mankind by mortal birth
    Into a world of change and time;
  2. Enlighten our hearts; vain hopes destroy;
    And in Thy love’s consuming fire
    Fill all the soul with heavenly joy,
    And melt the dross of low desire.
  3. So when the Judge of quick and dead
    Shall bid His awful summons come,
    To whelm the guilty soul with dread,
    And call the blessed to their home,
  4. Saved from the whirling, black abyss,
    Forevermore to us be given
    To share the feast of saintly bliss,
    And see the face of God in heaven.
  5. To God the Father and the Son
    Our songs with one accord we raise;
    And to the Holy Spirit, One
    With Them, be ever equal praise.

Author: Ambrosian, 5th or 6th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by W. J. Courthope. There are about thirty translations, four of which are in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on Sundays and week-days during Advent.

There is an article on this hymn in the Cath. Encycl.

  1. “O Heavenly Word proceeding from the bosom of the Eternal Father, Thou wast born, and didst come to the aid of the world, in the fleeting course of time.” Verbum, the Word, the Eternal Son (cf. John 1, 1-14). Constr.: Qui labente cursu temporis (abl. absol.) natus es (et) orbi subvenis.
  2. “Enlighten Thou our hearts and inflame them with Thy love, that the joys of heaven may fill the heart which abandons perishable things.” Constr.: Ut voluptas cœli impleat cor deserens caduca.
  3. “That when the tribunal of the Judge shall condemn the guilty to the flames, and a friendly voice shall call the just to the heaven due to them, may we then not be cast headlong into the black whirlpool as the food of flames, but participating in the beatific vision, may we enjoy the pleasures of heaven.” Debitum: due to them, because promised to them by Christ. Constr.: Ut non volvamur esca flammarum inter nigros turbines, sed compotes vultu Dei fruamur gaudiis cœli.