Saturday, May 10, 2008

Veni Sancte Spiritus

This YouTube video includes both the Veni Creator Spiritus and the Veni Sancte Spiritus. The latter is the Sequence for the Feast of Pentecost. It is an absolutely beautiful poem (attributed to various people, including Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury). The words are great to meditate on during this feast, even in translation (in Latin one can enjoy the rhyme, rhythm, and the terse meter). These four, which emphasize the Holy Spirit as Consolor, are my "favorite" verses. This is also where the chant soars up to high notes
Consolator optimae
dulcis hospes animae
dulce refrigerium

In labore requies
In aestu temperies
In fletu solatium

O lux beatissima
Reple cordis intima
Tuorum fidelium

Sine tuo numine
Nihil est in homine
Nihil est innoxium
A non-literal translation
O Thou, of comforters the best,
O Thou, the soul's delightful guest,
the pilgrim's sweet relief.

Rest art Thou in our toil, most sweet
refreshment in the noonday heat;
and solace in our grief.

O blessed Light of life Thou art;
fill with Thy light the inmost heart
of those who hope in Thee.

Without Thy Godhead nothing can,
have any price or worth in man,
nothing can harmless be.
And I love the last line, that really hit me the first time I came across this chant, oh-so-many years ago, in a dusty Gregorian Chant manual in my college library in Bombay. It is a simple request, stated baldly and without adornment, which is one of the deepest yearnings of the heart: Da perenne gaudium. Give unending joy.

This YouTube video is a stunningly beautiful rendition of the chant, though incomplete.

Zadok asks a question that has often struck me. In the second verse, the Holy Spirit is referred to as Pater pauperum, the Father of the poor. This is certainly an unusual address for the Holy Spirit. His readers give various explanations.

And finally, a different Veni Sancte Spiritus, the one that comes from Taizé. This is a video from the inauguration Mass of the first Catholic Church in Qatar, which opened in March of this year, a historic first for the Catholic community in the Sheikhdom.
Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

1 comment:

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

G writes:
This is also where the chant soars up to high notes

Which is why I'll be starting it on A tomorrow morning. It certainly is a lovely piece.