There are many things I love about the Brotherhood Prayer Book published by Emmanuel Press. Gregorian chant, Weekday Propers, Antiphons and Versicles for every week in the Church Year are only a fraction of what this book has to offer. One thing, however, that I am continually impressed by are the hymns. Each day of the week features a hymn for Morning, Midday, and Evening Prayer, chanted Gregorian style, of course. Sunday’s Vespers hymn is a prime example of why I never grow weary of singing them week after week. Here is the text:
1. O Blest Creator of the light,/ Who mak’st the day with radiance bright,/ And o’er the forming world didst call/ The light from chaos first of all;
2. Whose wisdom joined in meet array/ The morn and eve, and named them Day:/ Night comes with all its darkling fears;/ Regard thy people’s prayers and tears,
3. Lest, sunk in sin, and whelm’d with strife,/ They lose the gift of endless life;/ While thinking but the thoughts of time,/ They weave new chains of woe and crime.
4. But grant them grace that they may strain/ The heav’nly gate and prize to gain:/ Each harmful lure aside to cast,/ And purge away each error past.
5. O Father, that we ask be done,/ Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son;/ Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,/ Doth live and reign eternally./ Amen.
Lucis Creator optime. 6th century Trans. J.M. Neale
Another hymn that I really like is Thursday’s Hymn for Morning Prayer: Lux ecce surgit aurea. Prudentius, 4th cent.; Tr. R.M. Pope
1. Lo, Golden light rekindles day:/ Let paling darkness steal away,/ Which all too long o’erwhelmed our gaze/ Andled our steps by winding ways.
2. We pray thee, rising Light serene,/ E’en as thyself our hearts make clean;/ Let no deceit our lips defile,/ Nor let our souls be vexed by guile.
3. O keep us, as the hours proceed,/ From lying word and evil deed;/ Our roving eyes from sin set free,/ Our body from impurity.
4. For thou dost from above survey/ The converse of each fleeting day;/ Thou dost foresee from morning light/ Our ev’ry deed, until the night.
5. All laud to God the FAther be,/ All praise, eternal Son, to thee;/ All glory, as is ever meet,/ To God the holy Paraclete./ Amen.
I’m serious when I say that I never tire of these hymns. Their words are always fresh. Interested in getting your hands on one of these? Go to emmanuelpress.us and order one today! To listen to parts of the prayerbook chanted online, go to llpb.us.