Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Hymns for the Seven Founders from the Roman Breviary

Eugenius M. Poletti (1869-1940)
English translation Joseph Connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy

Bella dum late furerent, et urbes
Caede fraterna gemerent cruentae,
Adfuit Virgo, nova semper edens
Munera matris.

En vocat septem famulos, fideles
Ut sibi in luctu recolant dolores,
Quos tulit Iesus, tulit ipsa consors
Sub cruce Nati.

Illico parent Dominae vocanti:
Splendidis tectis opibusque spretis,
Urbe secedunt procul in Senari
Abdita montis.

Corpora hic poenis cruciant acerbis,
Sontium labes hominum piantes:
Hic prece avertunt lacrymisque fusis
Numinis iram.

Perdolens Mater fovet, atque amictum
Ipsa lugubrem monet induendum:
Agminis sancti pia coepta surgunt,
Mira patescunt.

Palmes in bruma viridans honores
Nuntiat patrum: proprios Mariae
Ore lactenti vocitant puelli
Nomine Servos.

Sit decus Patri, genitaeque Proli,
Et tibi, compar utriusque virtus
Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni
Temporis aevo.

While wars were raging all over Italy and its cities mourned the blood that brothers shed in conflict with brothers, the Virgin appeared and showed,  as she always does, fresh tokens of a mother's love. She summons seven who waited on her in prayer, bidding them be faithful to her command of recalling in sorrowful contemplation the sufferings that Jesus bore and that she in person shared at the foot of her Son's cross. Immediately they obey their Lady's summons. They turn their backs on their magnificent palaces and wealth and, leaving the city of Florence far behind, hide themselves in the caves of Monte Senario. Here they inflict cruel punishments on themselves, atoning for the sins of guilty men; here by their prayers and tears they turn aside from men God's anger. The sorrowful Mother encourages them and tells them to wear a habit of mourning. Thus the dutiful beginnings of the holy company prosper, and men come to hear of marvelous happenings. A vine puts forth green leaves in winter, thus telling the glory of these men. Unweaned children call them by name as Mary's own 'Servi':Now to the Father honor, to you, O Son of Mary, and to you, equal in power to both, the eternal Spirit, one through all time. Amen.

Sic patres vitam peragunt in umbra,
Lilia ut septem nivei decoris,
Virgini excelsae bene grata, Petro
Visa nitere.

Iamque divina rapiente flamma,
Cursitant urbes, loca quaeque oberrant,
Si queant cunctis animis dolores
Figere Matris.

Hinc valent iras domuisse caecas,
Nescia et pacis fera corda iungunt,
Erigunt moestos, revocant nocentes
Dicta piorum.

At suos Virgo comitata servos
Evehit tandem superas ad oras:
Gemmeis sertis decorat per aevum
Omne beatos.

Eia nunc coetus gemitum precantis
Audiant, duros videant labores:
Semper et nostris faveant benigno
Lumine votis.

Sit decus Patri, genitaeque Proli,
Et tibi, compar utriusque virtus
Spiritus semper, Deus unus, omni
Temporis aevo.

The fathers so spend their time of retirement from the world that they seem to Peter of Verona in a vision to be like seven pure white lilies, well pleasing to the Virgin in heaven and dazzling in their beauty. And now, under the impulse of divine love, they hasten from city to city and make their way over all the countryside with the intention of implanting in all souls the sorrows of their Mother. By this means the preaching of the holy men avails to tame senseless anger; it unites savage hearts that are blind to peace, uplifts the sorrowing and calls sinners back to repentance. When at length death comes to them, the Virgin accompanies her ‘Servi’ , brings them to heaven and adorns them, blessed now for ever, with jeweled garlands. May they hear our sighs as we are gathered to pray, regard us as we make our laborious efforts and always favor our prayers with their kindly help.

II Vespers
Matris sub almae numine
Septena proles nascitur:
Ipsa vocante, ad arduum
Tendit Senari verticem.

Quos terra fructus proferet
Dum sacra proles germinat,
Uvis repente turgidis
Onusta vitis praemonet.

Virtute claros nobili
Mors sancta caelo consecrat:
Tenent olympi limina
Servi fideles Virginis.

Cohors beata Numinis
Regno potita respice
Quos hinc recedens fraudibus
Cinctos relinquis hostium.

Ergo, per almae vulnera
Matris rogamus supplices,
Mentis tenebras disiice,
Cordis procellas comprime.

Tu nos, beata Trinitas,
Perfunde sancto robore,
Possimus ut feliciter
Exempla patrum subsequi.

A company of seven souls comes into being under the protection of its loving Mother, and at her bidding makes the difficult ascent to the top of Monte Senario. A vine is in a moment heavy with swelling grapes-a sign of the fruits the earth will yield when the company of saints begins to put forth its buds. A holy death puts these men in God's presence, famed for their noble virtue; the Virgin's faithful servants attain the abode of heaven. Q happy company, now that you have obtained the kingdom of God, look down on those whom, at your departure from this world, you left behind surrounded by their enemies' wily snares. We therefore make this earnest prayer through our loving Mother's wounds: dispel the darkness from our souls and hold in check our passions. And you, O Trinity Divine! confirm us in your Holy Grace! that we may our hearts incline to walk in these thy servants' ways. Amen.

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