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Præclara custos virginum

Blest guardian of all virgin souls

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8 December

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Præclara custos virginum,
    Intacta Mater Numinis,
    Cœlestis aulæ janua,
    Spes nostra, cœli gaudium.
  2. Inter rubeta lilium,
    Columba formosissima,
    Virga e radice germinans
    Nostro medelam vulneri.
  3. Turris draconi impervia,
    Amica stella naufragis,
    Tuere nos a fraudibus,
    Tuaque luce dirige.
  4. Erroris umbras discute,
    Syrtes dolosas amove,
    Fluctus tot inter, deviis
    Tutam reclude semitam.
  5. Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
    Qui natus es de Virgine,
    Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
    In sempiterna sæcula.
  1. Blest guardian of all virgin souls,
    Portal of bliss to man forgiven,
    Pure Mother of Almighty God,
    Thou hope of earth and joy of heaven!
  2. Fair Lily found among the thorns,
    Most beauteous Dove with wings of gold,
    Rod from whose tender root upsprang
    That healing Flower so long foretold.
  3. Thou Tower against the dragon proof,
    Thou Star to storm-tossed voyagers dear;
    Our course lies o’er a treacherous deep,
    Thine be the light by which we steer.
  4. Scatter the mists that round us hang;
    Keep far the fatal shoals away;
    And while through darkling waves we sweep,
    Open a path to light and day.
  5. O Jesu, born of Virgin bright,
    Immortal glory be to Thee;
    Praise to the Father infinite
    And Holy Ghost eternally.
Author: Unknown, 17th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation by Father Caswall. There are at least four translations. This hymn first appeared in the Office of the Purity of the Blessed Virgin, authorized by Pope Benedict XIV, in 1751. Present Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
  1. “Illustrious guardian of virgins, chaste Mother of God, portal of the heavenly court, our hope, the joy of heaven.” Cœlestis aulæ janua = Janua cœli, Gate of heaven (Litany).
  2. “Thou lily among the thorns, dove all-beauteous, rod from the root (of Jesse) producing a healing balm for our wounds.” Rubeta, orum, thorns. Sicut lilium inter spinas, sic amica mea inter filias (Cant. 2, 2). Columba,: Surge, propera, amica mea, columba mea, formosa mea, et veni (Cant. 2, 10). In the Scriptures the dove is a symbol of innocence and purity, and laso of tender and devoted affection. Virga: Egredietur virga da radice Jesse et flos de radice ejus ascendet (Is. 11, 1). Jesse was the father of David, and was, therefore, a lineal ancestor of the Blessed Virgin.
  3. “Thou tower inaccessible to the dragon, star friendly to the shipwrecked, protect us from deception, and guide us by thy light.” Turris—Turris Davidica, Tower of David (Litany: cf. Cant. 4, 4).
  4. “Dispel the shadows of error, remove treacherous shoals; among so many waves, reveal a safe path to those astray.”