Vexilla Regis Prodeunt
1. Vexilla Regis prodeunt: Fulget Crucis mysterium,
Qua vita mortem pertulit, Et morte vitam protulit.
2. Quae vulnerata lanceae Mucrone diro, criminum
Ut nos lavaret sordibus, Manavit und(a) et sanguine.
3. Impleta sunt quae concinit David fideli carmine,
Dicendo nationibus: Regnavit a ligno Deus.
4. Arbor decor(a) et fulgida, Ornata Regis purpura,
Electa digno stipite Tam sancta membra tangere.
5. Beata, cuius brachiis Pret(i)um pependit saeculi:
Statera facta corporis, Tulitque praedam tartari.
6. O CRUX AVE, SPES UNICA, Hoc Passionis tempore
Piis adauge gratiam, Reisque dele crimina.
7. Te, fons salutis Trinitas, Collaudet omnis spiritus:
Quibus Crucis victoriam Largiris, adde praemium. Amen.
Click here for an English translation.
This is a very moving hymn, expressing love for Jesus Christ and His holy Cross, by which we were all redeemed. The cross, long a disgraceful punishment, is a badge of honor for Our Lord who redeemed us, and is now the standard or flag for His Kingdom. It is now considered an honor, like the banners of a conquering king.
More sublime or moving lyrics can scarce be imagined -- you can tell a LOT of thought, meditation, and inspiration went into this hymn. It is from an age vastly different from our own. It dates back to a time when Christian meant "following Christ and His Church completely" and casting to the wind all cares about what other men think. When this hymn was written, the persecutions had scarce ended, and the Faith was a treasure to be jealously guarded and tended.
What is the oldest song you can think of? Vexilla Regis Prodeunt is attributed to Venatius Fortunatus (530-609), as are many other ancient hymns. This hymn certainly goes back countless centuries -- how amazing that we can listen to something that predated Christopher Columbus by several centuries! What songs can we suggest as being old? The Star-Spangled Banner? (1800's) Several 17th century protestant hymns? Those are modern pop music compared to what the Catholic Church has in her arsenal! She has hymns that date back to the Roman Empire.
Let us all pray that more men will honor and worship Jesus Christ who redeemed us by suffering the ignominious death of the cross, Whose wounds are now most glorious in the splendor of Heaven.
This is found on the following CD(s):
Chant Compendium 1.
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