The Regina Caeli, a prayer which requests Our Lady to rejoice in the Resurrection of her Son, has an incredible traditional story behind it. In the Golden Legend, a book dating back to the thirteenth century regarding the lives of the saints, there is a beautiful story connected with Pope St. Gregory the Great.
The book recounts a procession held sometime during the sixth century imploring Our Lord to end the epidemic that had fallen upon the city of Rome. The procession was lead by St Gregory and an icon of Our Lady, painted by St Luke. As the air filled with a beautiful fragrance, St Gregory gazed up and beheld a group of angels singing, “O, Queen of Heaven rejoice, Alleluia! For He whom you deserved to bear, Alleluia! Has risen as He said, Alleluia!” In response, he said, “O, pray to God for us, Alleluia!” These are the words from which the hymn is derived. At that moment, he looked over and caught sight of an angel protecting, with his sword, the Hill of Hadrian.
The Regina Caeli is a Marian antiphon and is one of the four antiphons (a short sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle) attributed to Our Lady. It is commonly recited or sung from Easter to Pentecost Sunday in place of the Angelus. This hymn is considered one of the most beautiful and joyful hymns in the Church. The translation from Latin gives us splendid and glorious English expressions.
The Regina Caeli is a delightful reminder for Catholics to remain living always rejoicing in Our Savior’s glorious Resurrection triumphing over His grueling and heart- wrenching Passion, through which humanity was saved. Whenever this song is sung, or prayer is said, we unite ourselves with the Blessed Mother in our expression of joy and gladness in Our Saviors ultimate sacrifice which earned, for us, our salvation.