Divinum Mysterium

I first heard an arrangement of this plainsong hymn about twenty-five years ago. It remains a favorite, though I’ve yet to muster the nerve to introduce a new congregational piece during the Christmas season.

Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

I couldn’t find a pure chant version, but the young people in the video do a creditable job with an understated arrangement.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Divinum Mysterium

  1. Charles says:

    Do you have a copy of the Episcopal Hymnal 1982? Try Hymn 82.

  2. Gavin says:

    New hymns in at Christmas are actually quite easy. Your church will be full of visitors, and the visitors will easily carry it (since it’s a common Christmas hymn). The melody, being in mode V, is easy to pick up and something most anyone, chant geek to strummer, will love immediately. I’d say make a point to use it at all Masses in the Christmas season (Christmas, Holy Family, Epiphany transferred) and the next year it will be a beloved tradition. Did the same thing with In Dulci Jubilo at a prior parish.

  3. Liam says:

    We used to sing this regularly when I was growing up. It’s as standard as many other a standard, and should be very familiar to Catholic congregations – and if not, it should bump some others that don’t need the exposure (I will relent on Silent Night, so long as it is sung quietly rather than loudly, but we could do well to ditch Hark The Herald Angels Scream – I always think of Mia Farrow in Radio Days – “Hawrk! I hee-uh da canninz raw-uh: izit da kingk approachingk?”). Also make sure that the far superior Catholic carol, Angels We Have Heard On High, is not omitted.

    Now, it’s nice form to *not* breath between each couplet of lines (just like, when there are triplets of lines, not breathing between the first two of the three and keeping the lift short between the second and third). This is one way to get a sense for a good tempo, of course – when chant plods, one has to breathe too often.

  4. OCP observations:
    *Why print “A Child is Born in Bethlehem” without an opposite page inclusion of “Puer Natus…?”

    *Absolutely have congregations sing “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.” But why with Dan Schutte’s new texts and the extremely odd 3/4 having the anna crucis as beat one?

    *Must do on HOLY FAMILY (2 Christmas)- “Once in Royal David’s City.” It may very well be an Anglophile’s delight, but Americans must embrace this carol’s beautiful TEXT as well as stately melody.

    *Lose the old NALR “new carols.” ‘Nuff said there.

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