Friday, 6 January 2017

The Latest Christian Hymn Outside Scripture

Okay, I admit that this is probably not THE latest hymn. That was clickbait. However, this topical tune was brought to my attention during a Facebook conversation about Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ's assertion that in theology 2 +2 may = 5.  As we all fell about tearing our hair and rending our garments, I asked if "God of Surprises" is an approved devotion.

In response, a kindly Jesuit priest (not  Fr. Spadaro) sent me the following link:

God of Surprises

The hymn is the second on the list. Click and have a listen. It was published in 2008. Note particularly the rhymes. Do not stop listening before the children's choir bursts in.

When you are done, please click the video below. This hymn (lyrics from the 6th century) was sung on Christmas Day in my church by a three man schola. Lyrics for the whole hymn below.

Christe, Redemptor omnium,    
ex Patre, Patris unice,
solus ante principium
natus ineffabiliter,

Tu lumen, tu splendor Patris,
tu spes perennis omnium,
intende quas fundunt preces
tui per orbem servuli.

Salutis auctor, recole
quod nostri quondam corporis,
ex illibata Virgine
nascendo, formam sumpseris.

Hic praesens testatur dies,
currens per anni circulum,
quod a solus sede Patris
mundi salus adveneris;

Hunc caelum, terra, hunc mare,
hunc omne quod in eis est,
auctorem adventus tui
laudat exsultans cantico.

Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo
redempti sumus sanguine,
ob diem natalis tui
hymnum novum concinimus.

Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula. 

One English version of the above:

1  JESU, the Father's only Son,
whose death for all redemption won,
before the worlds, of God most high,
begotten all ineffably.1
2  The Father's Light and Splendour Thou
their endless Hope to Thee that bow:
accept the prayers and praise today
that through the world Thy servants pay.
3  Salvation's author, call to mind
how, taking the form of humankind,
born of a Virgin undefiled,
Thou in man's flesh becamest a Child.
4  Thus testifies the present day
Through every year in long array,
that Thou, salvation's source alone
proceedest from the Father's Throne.
5  Whence sky, and stars, and sea's abyss,
and earth, and all that therein is,
shall still, with laud and carol meet,
the Author of thine Advent greet.
6  And we who, by Thy precious Blood
from sin redeemed, are marked for God,
on this, the day that saw Thy Birth,
sing the new song of ransomed earth.
7  All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Iesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Ghost forevermore. Amen.

(John Mason Neale, 1818-1866)


  1. Question about "God of Surprises" - who is "the prophet who challenges all to look deeper again"? It is a line that's is repeated over and over.

    Aussie girl in NZ

    1. A good question, given that it was 2008. I took it to mean any progressive voice raised up recently. e. g. someone who says if you look closely at the Scriptures, you will see that Jesus was a Cuban-Palestinian freedom fighter.

  2. Boy that was painful. And whatever that electric piano-thing is, it needs to be banned. My own parish has an electric piano that can do 'normal' piano, but is often played with the jazzier button depressed. I have frequently desired to do violence to it.
    Oddly, in the mix of that album, I noticed 'Veni Sancte Spiritus' which sounds a bit Taizé but should be noted is accompanied by something sounding reminiscent of an organ and is lead by the children's choir. Clearly someone didn't thing a little Latin (really, it's only Veni Sancte Spiritus repeated continuously) would be too difficult for children.

    1. The irony. When Saint John Paul II first came to visit Toronto, I was a child, and the papal choir--of which I was a member--sang Veni Creator Spiritus, which we all had memorized--several verses too!