Conditor alme siderum
By Sr. Fidelis
The Advent hymn for Vespers is a wondrous combination of simplicity and depth. We do not know the author of the text, but it was most likely composed in the 9th century, or even earlier. The themes of preparation for both the coming of Christ at Christmas and the Second Coming on the last day of judgment are woven throughout the verses, along with the theme of light in darkness. The tune is simple, syllabic, and wonderfully balanced, an example of Mode 4 using the lower part of this Mi Mode. Listen to the Monks of Solesmes in France chant this serene hymn and ponder the meaning of the text as we prepare for His coming.
Kind creator of the stars, eternal light of those who believe,
O Christ, Redeemer of all, hear the petitions of your suppliants.
You are the one, having compassion that the race should perish in the destruction of death, who saved the fainting world, giving the remedy to all things.
When the world’s evening drew to an end, as the spouse from his chamber,
he came forth from the most honored womb of a Virgin Mother.
To whose almighty power all are bowed on bended knee,
things of heaven and earth, acknowledging themselves submitted to his command.
O you, Holy One, we ask in faith, O coming judge of the world,
preserve us in our time from the dart of the treacherous foe.
To you, O Christ, king most loving, and to the Father be glory
with the Spirit, the Paraclete, for everlasting ages. Amen.