September 30, 2015

The Messenger from God's High Throne / Caelestis Aulae Nuntius

Painting by Paolo de Matteis, 1721 - Courtesy of Wikipedia

PROPER OF SAINTS - The Messenger from God's High Throne is a translation by the Catholic convert, Alan G. McDougall (1895-1964) of Caelestis Aulae Nuntius by Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini, OP (1695-1779). In 1757, Fr. Ricchini composed this hymn along with 3 others for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. Originally included only in the Dominican Breviary, they were added to the Roman Breviary in 1888. The four hymns are essentially one work: the first 3 hymns are comprised of 5 stanzas each (plus doxology) which correspond to the 15 mysteries of the traditional Rosary. The final hymn: Te Gestientem Gaudiis (the only one in use today) is a recapitulation of the first three hymns. In the Roman Breviary, Caelestis Aulae Nuntius (which has as it's theme: the Joyful Mysteries) was traditionally sung at 1st Vespers on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary (Oct. 7). The Messenger from God's High Throne can be sung to any hymn tune with metre such as the 7th century Latin hymn: Creator Alme Siderum, as featured in the following video.

Tune: Creator Alme Siderum


1. The Messenger from God's high throne
His secret counsel making known
Hails Mary, child of David's race,
God's Virgin Mother, full of grace.

2. The Mother Maid with joyous feet
Her friend, John's mother, goes to greet;
He, stirring in the enclosing womb,
Declares that Christ his Lord has come.

3. The Word, who ere the worlds began,
From God the Father's thought forth ran,
Of Mary, Virgin undefiled,
For us is born a mortal child.

4. Christ to the Temple courts they bring;
The King's own law subjects the King;
The world's Redeemer for a price
is there redeemed, our sacrifice.

5. The joyful Mother finds once more
The Son she mourned as lost before;
While doctors by His speech were shown
The mysteries they had never known.

6. All honor laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

CAELESTIS AULAE NUNTIUS by Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini

1. Caelestis aulae Nuntius,
Arcana pandens Numinis,
Plenam salutat gratia
Dei Parentem Virginem. 

2. Virgo propinquam sanguine
Matrem Ioannis visitat,
Qui, clausus alvo, gestiens
Adesse Christum nuntiat.

3. Verbum, quod ante saecula
E mente Patris prodiit,
E Matris alvo Virginis,
Mortalis Infans nascitur. 

4. Templo puellus sistitur,
Legique paret Legifer,
Hic se Redemptor paupere
Pretio redemptus immolat.

5. Quem iam dolebat perditum,
Mox laeta Mater invenit
Ignota doctis mentibus
Edisserentem Filium. 

6. Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula.

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