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The Origins of Veni, Veni Emanuel


“Veni, veni Emmanuel! Captivum solve Israel! Qui gemit in exilio.” This enchanting tune was most familiar in the English-speaking world dating back to the 15th-century in France. As for the text, it was first document in Germany in 1710. The pre-history of the text goes back to the origins of the O Antiphons which were around since the eighth century.



The songs Latin roots began in the Latin masses of the day and it eventually made its way to a bigger audience. From, Bereket Kelile gave the story behind “O come, O come, Emmanuel” in it he said “The initial Latin text, framed in the original seven different verses, represented the different biblical views of the Messiah. One verse per day was sung or chanted during the last seven days before Christmas.



For the people of the Dark Ages—few of whom read or had access to the Bible—the song was one of the few examples of the full story of how the New and Old Testament views of the Messiah came together in the birth and life of Jesus. Because it brought the story of Christ the Savior to life during hundreds of years of ignorance and darkness, ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ ranks as one of the most important songs in the history of the Christian faith.”


John Mason Neale on January 24, 1818 is responsible for making the song known worldwide. He was and Anglican priest that was educated at Trinity College in Cambridge. Mr. Neale knew how to speak and write more than twenty languages. He was thought to be too evangelical so he was sent by the Anglican Church to the Madiera Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. He translated the song from Latin to English with his translation being “Draw Nigh, Draw Nigh, Emmanuel.”



This tune has quite an exquisite history and should be shared with all.


Regina Caeli

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.


Is there any grief like a mother’s when she loses her child? There are many songs that try to answer this question, but many come out with less than satisfactory results. There is one hymn, however, that is perhaps the best piece of sorrowful music in the Catholic Church, and perhaps the world. The Stabat Mater, a Latin hymn that can also be recited in prayer, reminds us of the Blessed Mother’s intense sorrow at seeing her beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, dying on the cross so that we might have Eternal Life.
This masterpiece of music is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary,which (as mentioned before), portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ’s mother during his crucifixion. A Franciscan friar named Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi is said to have written the original text in the 13th century, although some scholars have attributed it to Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which, loosely translated, means “the sorrowful mother was standing”.
The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by many composers, most famously by Palestrina (~1590), Vivaldi (1712), Domenico (1715) and Alessandro Scarlatti (1723).
There are over 60 English translations of the Stabat Mater, including this one. The Stabat Mater was used frequently in the Liturgy for centuries before it became a sequence (a hymn spoken or sung before the Gospel) in 1727 for the feast of the Seven Sorrows. Its use as a sequence is optional now on that feast day (now called the feast for Our Lady of Sorrows), but the hymn is often prayed with the Stations of the Cross at Lent. The Stabat Mater brings to mind front and center just how fully our Blessed Mother suffered along with Jesus, like Him on our behalf! St. Alphonsus Liguori once wrote, that “two hung upon one cross.”
Youtube- Stabat Mater-

“Ere the day of retribution”

The “Dies Irae”, or “Day of Wrath” in Latin, was written in the fourteenth century. Originally emerging as a poem penned by Thomas of Celano, the work was later put to music and incorporated into the Mass of the Dead. It speaks of the end times and the final judgment. Later revitalized by Mozart, with each new chorus, the Dies Irae warns of the countless sinners that will be cast into hell. Describing the rise of Jesus Christ to His throne in Heaven, the chorus cries,”When the Judge his seat attaineth, And each hidden deed arraigneth, Nothing unavenged remaineth.” Continue reading “Ere the day of retribution”