Saturday, December 8, 2012

Two Hymns for the Immaculate Conception

It is almost impossible to be too over the top for the Immaculate Conception.  After all, it's a Marian feast in honor of an abstract theological concept. If you're in, you might as well go all the way, ergo the gilt madonna to the right from Clermont Cathedral.

Another thing that tends to be wonderfully over the top on this day is the hymnody. The lyrics below were a favorite of mine in years past. They may seem a tad cloying, but the tune, Immaculate !Immaculate!, is quite jaunty and keeps things moving.

O Mother! I could weep for mirth,
Joy fills my heart so fast;
My soul today is heaven on earth,
Oh could the transport last!

I think of thee, and what thou art,
Thy majesty, thy state;
And I keep singing in my heart—
Immaculate! Immaculate!

2 When Jesus looks upon thy face,
His heart with rapture glows,
And in the Church, by his sweet grace,
Thy blessèd worship grows.

3 The angels answer with their songs,
Bright choirs in gleaming rows;
And saints flock round thy feet in throngs,
And heaven with bliss o’erflows.

4 And I would rather, Mother dear!
Thou shouldst be what thou art,
Than sit where thou dost, oh, so near
Unto the Sacred Heart.

5 Yes, I would forfeit all for thee,
Rather than thou shouldst miss
One jewel from thy majesty,
One glory from thy bliss.

Score from
6 Conceived, conceived Immaculate!
Oh what a joy for thee!
Conceived, conceived Immaculate!
Oh greater joy for me!

7 Immaculate Conception! Far
Above all graces blest!
Thou shinest like a royal star
On God’s eternal breast!

8 It is this thought today that lifts
My happy heart to heaven:
That for our sakes thy choicest gifts
To thee, dear Queen, were given.

9 God prosper thee, my Mother dear;
God prosper thee, my Queen;
God prosper his own glory here
As it hath ever been!

If that’s a bit much, the Breviary Hymn for vigils is a bit more sober:

Fair Guardian of the Virgin choirs,
Chaste Mother of the Deity,
Thou gateway to the courts of heaven,
Our hope of heaven’s felicity.

A Lily grown among the thorns,
Of all pure doves the comliest,
Branch from life-giving root, the health
Of man by wounds of sin distrest,

From serpent’s sting the impervious tower,
For shipwrecked souls the friendly star,
Defending us from treachery,
Our light to guide us from afar.

Avert from us grim error’s shades,
Deceptive quicksands of dismay,
Among so many boisterous waves
In heavenly progress guide our way.

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin born to Thee,
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.