April 16, 2013

O Loving Wisdom of Our God

O Generous Love!

O Loving Wisdom of Our God was written by Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890). It is an abridgement (beginning at the 2nd stanza) of the more well known, Praise to the Holiest, also used with the Liturgy of the Hours. Both are adapted from Cardinal Newman's 1865 epic poem, The Dream of Ge­ron­ti­us. The text of the hymn is drawn from the final section of the work where a choir of angels sing as the departed soul crosses the threshold to be judged by God. Newman had been asked by fellow convert to Catholicism, Fr. Henry James Coleridge S. J. (1822-1893), editor of The Month magazine, to make a contribution. He had expected Newman to write on some matter of theology, but instead received The Dream of Ge­ron­ti­us, which took Newman less than a month to compose. O Loving Wisdom of Our God is set to the tune, Billing by Richard R. Terry (1865-1938). In the Divine Office (1974), it is used on Holy Saturday.

Tune: Billing

O LOVING WISDOM OF OUR GOD by John Henry Newman, 1865 (Public Domain)

1. O loving wisdom of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.

 2. O wisest love! that flesh and blood,
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail!

 3. O generous love! that He, Who smote
In Man for man the foe,;
The double agony in Man
For man should undergo!

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