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Gregorian Chant CDs and Traditional Catholic Books!

O Sacred Head, Surrounded

Download a MIDI of this hymn

O Sacred Head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding Head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of Thy most Holy Face,
yet angel hosts adore Thee
and tremble as they gaze

I see Thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving Thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn Thy face on me.

In this Thy bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
with Thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath Thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in Thy dear love confiding,
and with Thy presence blest.

But death too is my ending;
In that dread hour of need,
My friendless cause befriending,
Lord, to my rescue speed:
Thyself, O Jesus, trace me,
Right passage to the grave,
And from Thy cross embrace me,
With arms outstretched to save.

The lyrics were translated from the text of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) by Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877), 1861. We have here another priceless Catholic hymn dating back centuries! This music is always fitting for sacred worship: dignified, reverent, and inspiring the respect we should all have for the Sacred Mysteries taking place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is sung today in many conservative or traditional Catholic circles, as a processional, recessional, Communion or Offertory hymn. As can be expected, it is mostly used during Lent, particularly during Passion week.

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