Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song
By Sr. Fidelis
The Weekday Vespers Hymns
Last week we looked at Lauds hymns and discussed the fact that throughout the week, light, dawn, and the dispelling of darkness are the themes throughout.
The Vespers hymns, however, mirror the days of creation from Genesis, Chapter 1. The texts of these hymns are attributed to Gregory the Great (d. 604). Each one is a poetic masterpiece of 5 verses. The first several verses always make reference to that particular day of creation, while the ensuing two verses are a supplication of needs for the soul.
The final verse is always a final prayer to the members of the Trinity.
Monday, traditionally thought of as the 2nd day of the week, mirrors this theme in the Vespers hymn, which speaks of Day 2 of Creation; the separating of waters above and below the skies.
O immense author of the heaven, you who divide the mingled streams of water so that they would not be confused, you gave the sky as a limit,
Establishing a place for the heavens, and likewise for the rivers of the earth, so that water might temper the flames, and that it might not scatter the soil of the earth.
Pour into us now, O most loving One, the gift of eternal grace: so that, by the misfortunes of some new deception, the old error may not destroy us.
Let faith find light, so may it show forth the radiance of the light; let it deter all these vain things, and let nothing false suppress it.
Grant this, O most loving Father, and you, the only One equal to the Father, with the Spirit, the Paraclete, who reigns through every age.