Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Verbum supernum prodiens

The Heav’nly Word proceeding forth

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Verbum supernum prodiens,
    Nec Patris linquens dexteram,
    Ad opus suum exiens,
    Venit ad vitæ vesperam.
  2. In mortem a discipulo
    Suis tradendus æmulis,
    Prius in vitæ ferculo
    Se tradidit discipulis.
  3. Quibus sub bina specie
    Carnem dedit et sanguinem;
    Ut duplicis substantiæ
    Totum cibaret hominem.
  4. Se nascens dedit socium,
    Convescens in edulium,
    Se moriens in pretium,
    Se regnans dat in præmium.
  5. O salutaris hostia,
    Quæ cœli pandis ostium,
    Bella premunt hostilia;
    Da robur, fer auxilium.
  6. Uni trinoque Domino
    Sit sempiterna gloria:
    Qui vitam sine termino
    Nobis donet in patria.
  1. The Heav’nly Word proceeding forth,
    Yet leaving not the Father’s side,
    And going to His work on earth
    Had reached at length life’s eventide.
  2. By false disciple to be given
    To foemen for His Blood athirst,
    Himself, the living Bread from Heaven,
    He gave to His disciples first.
  3. To them He gave, in two-fold kind,
    His very Flesh, His very Blood:
    In love’s own fulness thus designed
    Of the whole man to be the food.
  4. By birth, our fellowman was He;
    Our meat, while sitting at the board;
    He died, our ransomer to be;
    He ever reigns, our great reward.
  5. O saving Victim, opening wide
    The gate of heaven to man below:
    Our foes press on from every side;
    Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
  6. To Thy great Name be endless praise,
    Immortal Godhead, One in Three!
    O grant us endless length of days
    In our true native land, with Thee.
See “Preliminary Observations” above. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by J. M. Neale; the last two stanzas by Father Caswall. There are about twenty-five translations, four of which are in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Lauds on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The O Salutaris is familiar from its frequent use in Benediction. In this beautiful hymn St. Thomas imitates the hymn Verbum Supernum, No. 36. The fourth stanza is an admirable example of perfect form and condensed meaning. It so pleased Rousseau that he would have given all his poetry to be its author.
  1. “The Heavenly Word going forth, yet not leaving the right hand of His Father, went forth to His allotted work, and arrived at the evening of His life.” Verbum: the Word, the Eternal Son of the Father (cf. John 1, 1-14). Dexteram: the place of honor and dignity; by the incarnation Christ did not relinquish this. Opus: Christ said: Me oportet operari opera ejus qui misit me, etc. (John 9, 4).
  2. “When about to be delivered over to His enemies, by a disciple, to be put to death, He first gave Himself to His disciples as the Bread of Life.”
  3. “To them He gave His Flesh and His Blood under a twofold species, that He might wholly feed man, who is of a twofold nature.” The Holy Eucharist is primarily the food of the soul; but on account of the intimate union of the body and soul, what promotes the health and vigor of the soul, by a sort of redundancy augments the powers of the body. The Holy Eucharist is a figure of that bread which Elias ate, “and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights” (cf. III Kings 19, 6-8).
  4. “By being born, He gave Himself to us as our companion; at the table, He gave Himself as our food; dying He gave Himself as our ransom; now reigning in glory He gives Himself as our reward.” Se nascens, by His incarnation. Convescens (convescor), while eating with His apostles at the Last Supper, He gave, etc. Se moriens, when dying on the Cross, He gave, etc.
  5. “O Saving Victim, that openest the gate of heaven; hostile attacks oppress us, give us strength, bring us aid.” Hostia, victim, host, sacrifice. According to St. Paul, Christ “delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice (hostiam) to God for an odor of sweetness” (Eph. 5, 2; Rom. 12, 1). Bella: hostile assaults of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Militia est vita hominis super terram (Job 7, 1).
  6. “Eternal glory be to the Triune God, who giveth us life without end in our native land above.”