Saturday, February 9, 2019

Sunday Weeks I & II: Vespers II: St. Gregory the Great ?

The five hymns, probably composed by the same author, are taken from the first five days of Creation in Genesis. This, the first, refers to the creation of light.

Lucis creátor óptime,
lucem diérum próferens,
primórdiis lucis novæ
mundi parans oríginem;

Qui mane iunctum vésperi
diem vocári prǽcipis:
tætrum chaos illábitur;
audi preces cum flétibus.

Ne mens graváta crímine
vitæ sit exsul múnere,
dum nil perénne cógitat
seséque culpis ílligat.

Cælórum pulset íntimum,
vitále tollat prǽmium;
vitémus omne nóxium,
purgémus omne péssimum.

W&H: 1.2 lucem dierum, etc.: See Gen 1:3: "And God said, 'Be light made.' And light was made. " 2.2       diem vocari: Gen 1:5: "And [God} called the light day." 2.3 taetrum chaos: When "the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Gen 1:2). Chaos is found in both secular and Christian poets as an image of night. Just as at the Creation darkness followed God's creation of the day, so darkness has fallen when this hymn is sung at Vespers. Its plea is that the darkness of sin may not shroud the hearts of the singers. 4.1 pulset: The subject is mens in the previous stanza. Compare Mt 7-7: "Knock, and it shall be opened to you."

Great Creator of light, providing the light of day and fashioning the first beginnings of new light at the beginning of the world; You who bid morning joined to evening to be called day: now dark disorder falls upon us: hear our prayers with tears. Let not our minds heavy with sin be deprived of the rewards of life and bind ourselves to sin with no thought for things eternal. May our soul knock at the door of heaven, carry away the prize of life; let us shun everything harmful, let us purge all that is evil.

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