Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Jam Christus astra ascenderat

Now Christ, ascending whence He came

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Jam Christus astra ascenderat,
    Reversus unde venerat,
    Patris fruendum munere
    Sanctum daturus Spiritum.
  2. Solemnis urgebat dies,
    Quo mystico septemplici
    Orbis volutus septies
    Signat beata tempora.
  3. Cum lucis hora tertia
    Repente mundus intonat,
    Apostolis orantibus
    Deumvenire nuntiat.
  4. De patris ergo lumine
    Decorus ignis almus est,
    Qui fida Christi pectore
    Calore Verbi compleat.
  5. Impleta gaudent viscera,
    Afflata Sancto Spiritu,
    Vocesque diversas sonant,
    Fantur Dei magnalia.
  6. Notique cunctis gentibus,
    Græcis, Latinis, Barbaris,
    Simulque demirantibus,
    Linguis loquuntur omnium.
  7. Judæa tunc incredula,
    Vesana torvo spiritu,
    Madere musto sobrios
    Christi fideles increpat.
  8. Sed editis miraculis
    Occurrit et docet Petrus,
    Falsum profari perfidos,
    Joele teste comprobans.
  9. Deo Patri sit gloria,
    Et Filio, qui a mortuis
    Surrexit, ac Paraclito.
    In sæculorum sæcula.
  1. Now Christ, ascending whence He came,
    Had mounted o’er the starry frame,
    The Holy Ghost on man below,
    The Father’s promise, to bestow.
  2. The solemn time was drawing nigh,
    Replete with heav’nly mystery,
    On seven days’ sevenfold circles borne,
    That first and blessed Whitsunmorn.
  3. When the third hour shone all around,
    There came a rushing mighty sound,
    And told the Apostles, while in prayer,
    That, as was promised, God was there.
  4. Forth from the Father’s light it came,
    That beautiful and kindly flame:
    To fill with fervor of His word
    The spirits faithful to their Lord.
  5. With joy the Apostles’ breasts are fired,
    By God the Holy Ghost inspired:
    And straight, in divers kinds of speech,
    The wondrous works of God they preach.
  6. To men of every race they speak,
    Alike Barbarian, Roman, Greek:
    From the same lips, with awe and fear,
    All men their native accents hear.
  7. But Juda’s sons, e’en faithless yet,
    With mad infuriate rage beset,
    To mock Christ’s followers combine,
    As drunken all with new-made wine.
  8. When lo! With signs and mighty deeds,
    Stands Peter in the midst, and pleads:
    Confounding their malignant lie
    By Joel’s ancient prophecy.
  9. To God the Father let us sing,
    To God the Son, our risen King,
    And equally let us adore
    The Spirit, God forevermore.
Author: Ambrosian, 4th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation: First four stanzas by J. M. Neale; remainder by G. H. Palmer and J. W. Doran. There are about fifteen translations; three of which are in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on Whitsunday and throughout the octave. The hymn is a metrical setting of Acts 2, 1-16.
  1. “Christ had already ascended on high, returning whence He came, that He might send the Holy Spirit, who was to be received as the gift of the Father.” Fruendum: fut. part. of fruor, signifying one who or that which is to be enjoyed; here rather in the sense of “to be imparted.” Munere, by the liberality, generosity, etc. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, and was sent by the Father and the Son.
  2. “The solemn day drew nigh, on which the earth, having revolved seven times in the mystical sevenfold, announces the blessed time.” Dies, Pentecost. Septemplici = hebdomas, a period of seven days. It is styled mystical because of the well known mysterious significance of the number seven. The meaning of the stanza is that seven times seven revolutions of the earth take place between Easter and Pentecost. The Pentecost of the Jews was celebrated on the fiftieth day after the Passover or Jewish Easter. The Easter and Pentecost of the Jews were figures of the Christian festivals. The Pentecost of the Old Law was the festival on which was celebrated the “ingathering” of, and also the thanksgiving for the harvest (cf. Ex. 34, 22; Deut. 16, 9-10). See also the article on Whitsunday, in the Cath. Encycl.
    Behold the appointed morn appear
    In solemn mystery sublime!
    Seven times sevenfold this earthly sphere
    Revolving, marked the blessed time.
    J. D. Chambers.
  3. “When at the third hour of day the whole world suddenly resounds, and announces to the praying Apostles that God is come.” Deum = Spiritum Sanctum.
  4. “Of the Father’s light, therefore, is that beauteous, kindly flame, which fills with the fervor of the Word the hearts of those believing in Christ.” Fidus is generally followed by the dative, but in poetry also by the genitive. Or, fida pectora, Christ’s faithful souls. Calore verbi: This may be interpreted as in Neale’s version, viz. “To fill with fervor of His word.” It would then refer to the gift of fervid eloquence with which the Apostles were endowed. Or Verbum might preferably be rendered: the Word, the eternal Son of God. Note the following:
    To warm each faithful breast below
    With Christ, the Lord’s all-quickening glow.
    Father Aylward.
  5. “Filled therewith (sc. calore verbi), their hearts, inspired by the Holy Ghost, rejoice, and speaking divers tongues, they proclaim the wondrous works of God.”
  6. “At one and the same time, they (each one) spoke to the astonished people in the tongues of all, and they were understood by all, Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians.” Noti (sunt). Cunctis, etc., are in the dative with the passive, not the ablative. Read the article on Tongues, Gift of, in the Cath. Encycl.
  7. “Then faithless Judea, rendered insane by its savage spirit, accuses the sober, faithful followers of Christ of being drunk with new wine.” Judæa, i.e., the Jews.
  8. “But by the miracles wrought, Peter opposes them, and shows that the perfidious Jews speak falsely, proving it by the testimony of Joel.” (cf. Joel 2, 28).