Friday, August 04, 2023

The Sequence of St Dominic

For the feast of St Dominic, here is a very nice recording of In caelesti hierarchia, the Sequence for his Mass in the Dominican Missal. Dominic was, of course, the very first Saint of his order to be canonized; this was done in 1234 by Pope Gregory IX (1227-41), who had known him personally, and declared that he no more doubted his sanctity than he did that of Saints Peter and Paul. The author of the Sequence is unknown; it is attested in Dominican liturgical sources that predate the codification of their Use which took place in the mid-1250s, and still forms the basis of it to this day. 

In caelesti hierarchia,
nova sonet harmonia,
novo ducta cantico:

Cui concordet in hac via,
nostri chori melodia,
congaudens Dominico.

Ex Aegypto vastitatis,
virum suae voluntatis
vocat Auctor saeculi,

In fiscella paupertatis,
flumen transit vanitatis,
pro salute populi.

In figura catuli,
praedicator saeculi
matri praemonstratur;

Portans ore faculam,
ad amoris regulam
populos hortatur.

Hic est novus legislator,
hic Elias aemulator,
et detestans crimina.

Vulpes dissipat Samsonis,
et in tuba Gedeonis,
hostis fugat agmina.

A defunctis revocatum,
matri vivum reddit natum,
vivens adhuc corpore:

Signo crucis imber cedit;
turba fratrum panem edit,
missum Dei munere.

Felix, per quem gaudia
tota jam ecclesia
sumens exaltatur.

Orbem replet semine,
in caelorum agmine
tandem collocatur.

Jacet granum occultatum,
sidus latet obumbratum:
sed Plasmator omnium,

Ossa Joseph pullulare,
sidus jubet radiare,
in salutem gentium.

O quam probat carnis florem,
omnem superans odorem,
tumuli fragrantia!

Aegri currunt, et curantur,
caeci, claudi reparantur,
virtutum frequentia.

Laudes ergo Dominico
personemus mirifico,
voce plena:

Clama petens suffragia,
ejus sequens vestigia
plebs egena.

Sed tu pater pie, bone,
pastor gregis, et patrone,
prece semper sedula,

Apud curiam summi Regis,
derelicti vices gregis
commenda per saeculi. Amen.
Now new canticles ascending,
And new strains harmonious blending,
’Mid the hierarchies of heaven:

With our earthly choirs according,
Join this festival in lauding,
To our holy father given.

For the welfare of the nations,
Called from Egypt’s desolations
By their God and Maker, he

Was the chosen one and glorious,
Passing o’er the wave victorious,
In the ark of poverty.

Ere his birth, the preacher brother
Is prefigured to his mother
By a hound with torch of fire;

So her son, his torch-light bearing,
Midst the nations dark appearing,
Leads them on with full desire.

He, another Moses, teacheth,
And Elias-like he preacheth,
Sin denouncing with his might

Samson-like his foxes sending,
And the foe his trumpet rending,
Gedeon-like he put to flight.

From death’s sleep a child he waketh
Whom alive his mother taketh:
When the holy sign he makes,

Cease the floods; and bread from heaven
For his fainting sons is given
Which into their hands he breaks.

Happy he, whose elevation,
Is our mother’s exa1tation,
Is her joy and weal indeed.

To his home by saints attended,
Hath his soul for aye ascended,
Having filled the earth with seed.

Like the hidden grain he bideth
Like the clouded star he hideth:
But the Maker of the spheres,

Joseph’s dry bones readorning,
Will reveal the star of morning,
Till earth’s darkness disappears.

O surpassing fragrance, telling
Of the virtues of that dwelling,
Which within the tomb doth lie!

Thither flock the sick for healing,
Blind and lame the grace revealing
That his body lives for aye.

Wherefore now with jubilation
Bless and praise him, every nation,
Cry aloud, and crave his care:

Sing Dominic the glorious,
Sing Dominic victorious,
Claim his help and promised prayer.

And thou, father, kind and loving,
Shepherd, patron, unreproving,
Kneeling heaven’s high throne before,

Lift for us thy voice prevailing,
To our King with prayers availing
Evermore and evermore. Amen.

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