Fr. Z asks a question: favorite hymns/music for LENT

Our liturgical seasons have inspired beautiful musical compositions.

What are your favorite hymns and musical pieces for LENT?

My practical purpose in asking is that I am working on a Seven Last Words.  My thought is that it would be good to present the reflections punctuated by hymns or music appropriate for Lent and the Seven Last Words, almost in the style of "lessons and carols".

What are the Seven Last Words?

THE FIRST WORD

Luke 23:33-34 — When they came to the place called "The Skull," they nailed Jesus to the cross there, and the two criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, "Forgive them, Father! They know not what they do."

THE SECOND WORD

Luke 23:39-43 — One of the criminals hanging there threw insults at him: "Aren’t you the messiah? Save yourself and us!" The other one, however, rebuked him, saying: "Don’t you fear God? Here we are all under the same sentence. Ours, however, is only right, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong." And he said to Jesus, "Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!"  Jesus said to him, "I tell you this: Today you will be in Paradise with me."

THE THIRD WORD

John 19:25-27 — Standing close to jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that time the disciple took her to live in his home.

THE FOURTH WORD

Mark 15: 33-34 — And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Elo-i, elo-i, lama sabach-thani?" which means, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

THE FIFTH WORD

John 19:28 — After this jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), "I thirst."

THE SIXTH WORD

John 19:29-30 — A bowl was there, full of cheap wine mixed with vinegar, so a sponge was soaked in it, put on hyssop and lifted up to his lips. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished."

THE SEVENTH WORD

Luke 23:46 — Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.

What are your favorite hymns and musical pieces for LENT?  Keep the Seven Words in mind.

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71 Responses to Fr. Z asks a question: favorite hymns/music for LENT

  1. David says:

    For the seventh word — Befiehl Du Deine Wege, from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (tune of “O Sacred Heart, Now Wounded”, but with Bach’s extra-somber harmonization).

  2. Bibliothecarius says:

    I have made a tradition of listening to Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor sometime duirng the Triduum. IMHO the Lacrimosa is exquisite.

    Lacrimosa dies illa
    Qua resurget ex favilla
    Judicandus homo reus.
    Huic ergo parce, Deus:
    Pie Jesu Domine,
    Dona eis requiem. Amen.

    Mournful that day,
    on which will rise from ashes
    guilty man for judgment.
    So have mercy, O God, on this person.
    Compassionate Lord Jesus,
    grant them rest. Amen.

    This sums up for me the whole meaning of the Passion.

  3. Londiniensis says:

    An obvious starter must be Joseph Haydn’s Oratorio “Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlosers am Kreuze”, Hob.XX.2, which also exists in versions for String Quartet and Piano. More info on http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Mar04/Haydn_7last_choral.htm. The string quartet version is one of the discs I always have in my car over Holy Week.

  4. It would be helpful to think about parish settings as well.

  5. Londiniensis says:

    For the Third Word, there is the Stabat Mater Dolorosa – there have been many settings, famously by Pergolesi and Rossini, but also Vivaldi, Haydn, and almost everybody else of note, but oddly not Mozart.

  6. Ken says:

    O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden by Hans Leo Hassler, harmonized and made popular by J.S. Bach. Either with instruments on Laetare Sunday or without during the rest of Lent — it is an amazing piece of music. And it’s a chorale, so it’s not exactly polyphonic-hard.

    The thing to avoid, however, is the blaring organ that usually destroys the piece, especially when the organ is only permitted to sustain the voices in the Lenten season, with rare exception.

  7. Jim says:

    My favorite hymn for Lent is “O Sacred Head Surrounded.”

    The new priest in our parish claims to have a “happier” version of “O Sacred Head” (by Marty Haugen, I believe) and will be using it this Lent. Just think, preaching the Gospel without the passion and cross.

  8. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    How about:

    “Adoramus Te”

    “O Sacred Head Surrounded”

    “Stabat Mater”

    This one is Taize, but if chanted well could be suited to the words of the good thief:
    “Jesus remember me”

    Father, I am sure that you are familiar with all of these hymns, but if you are not I can give you their resources.
    What a beautiful and reverent thing you are doing. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it.
    God bless you.

  9. Ken says:

    Of course, the German hymn, I should have mentioned, would be sung before or after High Mass, or during Low Mass.

  10. My favorite has always been: Parce Domine. Between each verse the tone of the refrain and following verse is raised a half-step. It is a simple yet very moving. The composer is anonymous.

    Refrain:
    Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo:
    ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.

    1. Flectamus iram vindicem,
    Ploremus ante Judicem;
    Clamemus ore supplici,
    Dicamus omnes cernui:

    2. Nostris malis offendimus
    Tuam Deus clementiam
    Effunde nobis desuper
    Remissor indulgentiam.
    Refrain

    3. Dans tempus acceptabile,
    Da lacrimarum rivulis
    Lavare cordis victimam,
    Quam laeta adurat caritas.

    4. Audi, benigne Conditor,
    Nostras preces cum fletibus
    In hoc sacro jejunio,
    Fusas quadragenario.

    Refrain

  11. A Philadelphian says:

    Hi Father,

    My favorites are: 1) Pange Lingua, 2) Attende Domine, and 3) Herzliebster Jesu (spelling?). Also I love the Victima Paschali Laudes (sp.?) that is for Easter, but the gravity of the music seems more Lenten.

  12. TNCath says:

    Parce Domine
    O Sacred Head Surrounded (Especially, “Death’s pallid hue comes o’er Thee/The glow of life decays, / Yet Angel hosts adore Thee, / And tremble as they gaze!”)
    Adoramus Te Christe
    O Bone Jesu
    Stabat Mater

    Yes, the “more politically correct version” of “O Sacred Head” is floating around there somewhere. We never sing that version.

  13. berenike says:

    God of Mercy and Compassion … sin, hell with all its pain and torments, for all eternity…ekcetra. Marvellous, marvellous. Though it is a bit OTT, I got the giggles last time I rehearsed it with a choir (not very edifying).

  14. Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. says:

    Hymns that could be used at the Seven Last Words, Stations, or any Passion Devotion:

    “Ah, Holy Jesus” is a very moving hymn that is easy to sing and easily learned.
    “Go to Dark Gethsemane” is another easily learned passion hymn.
    “Oh, Come and Mourn with Me” has a more Marian focus.

    A general Lenten Hymn is the wonderful prose, “Attende, Domine.”

    The St Gregory Hymnal has some wonderful Lenten Motets including one for each of the “words” that are short and poignent. Among those which were well known at one time are two settings of “Adoremus Te, Christe,” one by Raimondi and one by Palestrina and “Christus factus est.”

  15. Cathy Dawson says:

    How about Take Up Thy Cross for the second word?

    1. “Take up thy Cross,” the Savior said,
    “if thou wouldst my disciple be;
    deny thyself, the world forsake,
    and humbly follow after me.”

    2. Take up thy cross, let not its weight
    fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
    his strength shall bear thy spirit up,
    and brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.

    3. Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
    nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
    thy Lord for thee the cross endured,
    to save thy soul from death and hell.

    4. Take up thy cross and follow Christ,
    nor think till death to lay it down;
    for only those who bear the cross
    may hope to wear the glorious crown.

  16. Take Up Your Cross, Atende Domine (both Latin and English), When I Survey The Wondrous Cross. There are so many beautiful hymns for Lent that it is difficult to choose.

  17. Lindsay says:

    Two of my favorite Lenten pieces, besides those mentioned already, are arrangements by Samuel Barber and David Guion of the same Irish poem from the 12th century. I think they would be appropriate for the 3rd word.

    “At the cry of the first bird they began to crucify Thee, O [cheek like a] Swan!
    Never shall lament cease because of that.
    It was like the parting of day from night.
    Ah, sore was the suffering borne by the body of Mary’s Son,
    But sorer still to Him was the grief which for His sake
    came upon His Mother.”

    I studied these pieces as a voice student in college, and at the time, I was protestant and my Baptist music director informed me there was no appropriate time leading up to Easter to perform them. I think that was perhaps one of the earlier nudges towards a love for liturgy and eventually Catholicism. How could there not be an appropriate time to meditate on the Crucifixion during the Easter season? Perhaps it was also the internalization of these lyrics that began my love of Our Lady?

    A congregational hymn that could be appropriate for the 2nd word might be another Bach motet “Jesu Meine Freude”. Here is a somewhat cheesy link, but it shows the verses in English (which, for what you describe, might be more accessible to a congregation?) and plays the melody, which they truly express a longing for heaven in a very Lenten way. http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/p/jpricelt.htm

    And, apparently either I’m simply a fan, or the Germans were just good at writing penitent hymns, but I think that Ah, Holy Jesus by Johann Cruger is very fitting for the 1st word. http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh289.sht

  18. Vexilla Regis is my favorite!

  19. Lindsay says:

    I love Fr. Bailey’s suggestions! I think if you want the congregation to participate, the Raimondi is a better choice, but the Palestrina Adoramus Te is one of my favorites!

    I also second Parce Domine from Crusty Catholic. Beautiful!

  20. There are two very lovely CarpathoRussian hymns that we sing at the Parish. One is “A most Grieving Mother”, and “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

    All during Lent we pray the Prayer of St. Efrem the Syrian:

    O Lord and Master of my life,
    Take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, ambition, and vain talk.
    But give to the servant the spirit of Chastity, Humility, Patience, and Brotherly Love.
    Yeah, O Lorand King, grant that I may see my own sins and not judge my brother, for Thou are blest unto ages of ages. Amen.

  21. Lindsay says:

    Okay, one last thing, I’m guessing it must be from something awful like Respond and Acclaim, but there is a nice setting of Psalm 22 that I have sung/cantored that really is moving and might be appropriate for the 4th word.

  22. Gavin says:

    The Lutheran hymn Herzliebster Jesu/”O Dearest Jesus” wins out for me. Such a majestic melody and moving words. Shame Catholics don’t sing it…

  23. Justin says:

    For congregation participation –

    Pange lingua
    Vexilla Regis
    Attende domine
    Stabat Mater in the traditional hymnody
    When I survey the woundrous cross – the last verse – love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all – gets to me everytime.
    My song is love unknown

    Choral music –

    First of all, I really don’t think there is a place for Mozart, Bach et. al during Lent given the liturgical rule about no musical instruments apart from where absolutely necessary to support singing.

    My absolute favourite is Christus factus est by Bruckner. At Westminster Cathedral, this is sung as the Acclamation before the chanting of the Passion on Good Friday and it sends shivers down my spine everytime.

    Crucifixus by Lotti is another Passiontide gem.

    Others include

    Allegri’s Miserere
    Byrd’s Civitas Sancti tui
    The Kyrie from Victoria’s Missa Pro Defunctis
    Gibbon’s Drop, drop slow tears

  24. The Glory of these Forty Days (but with Bach\’s Spires tune) which is loosely based on Clarus Decus Jejunii of St. Gregory the Great.
    http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/l/gloryt40.htm

  25. Habemus Papam says:

    O Sacred Head sore wounded
    By reed and bramble scarred
    That idle hands have bruised
    And mocking lips have marred.
    How dimmed that eye so tender
    How wan those cheeks appear
    How overcome the splendour
    Which angel hosts rever!

  26. Chironomo says:

    Nobody mentioned “Crucem Tuam” yet …. the Taize setting is simple yet very beautiful. We use it for both Good Friday and Passion Sunday.

  27. Fr. D says:

    I found this song in an old hymnal years ago while still in the seminary.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=C-oiAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA164&lpg=RA1-PA164&dq=great+god+whatever+in+thy+church+thou+teachest&source=web&ots=0FTPJPMWS2&sig=75puSW2DzEsydaRBK-HE6sCLbtE

    #128 Great God whatever through Thy Church

    I was successful in getting it used two times. I would suggest a more familiar tune such as “Ellacombe.”
    q.v. for tune: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/m/m/mmworker.htm

    This song verses are adaptions of the acts of Faith, Hope, Charity, and Contrition!

  28. Augustinus says:

    Attende Domine
    Crux fidelis
    O come and mourn with me awhile
    God of mercy and compassion
    Man of sorrows, wrapt in grief
    Vexilla regis
    By the blood which flowed from Thee

    All singable by the average parish, but choirs can use polyphonic versions, too

  29. techno_aesthete says:

    Stabat Mater, chant version
    O Sacred Head Surrounded
    Parce, Domine

  30. One might consider “My Song is Love Unknown.”

  31. Nick says:

    The Improperia of Victoria are simple and hauntingly beautiful. Also, I don’t think it could be Lent without some text being sung to the St. Flavin hymn tune, be it “Lord who throughout these forty days,” or “These Forty Days of Lent,” or any other variation.

  32. Tom, Manchester, UK says:

    There’s a Taize refrain that the parish that I grew up in uses at the end of the Mass on Maundy Thursday. The setting is important. Immediately after Mass, as the Altar is stripped, the candles removed and the statues covered, those of the congregation who are not staying for the watching leave in silence other than for the choir repeatedly singing the refrain “Stay with me; remain here with me; watch and pray; watch, and pray”. Maundy Thursday is always my favourite Mass of the year (the Easter and Christmas Vigils aside) but this refrain I find particularly special.

  33. musicus says:

    Textualizations of Erhalt Uns, Herr are fine.

  34. Andrew says:

    There are very nice things mentioned above, but somehow I can’t stop thinking that perhaps …

    … perhaps, Lent should be silent. No singing at all. Even the bells were replaced with wooden clappers in my childhood. Silence is austere, and that’s what Lent is about.

    Am I just a morose kind of an individual or is there any merit to my thinking? (You don’t have to answer this question).

  35. Josiah says:

    Adoramus te,Christe – Theodore dubois.
    Pange lingua gloriosi, and Herzliebster Jesu/O Dearest Jesus
    I’ve loved Attende domine since I first heard it last ash wednesday, and the chant version of “Stabat Mater”. (though pergolesi’s is impressive, last year it was sung at the cathedral before the good Friday liturgy. It’s not particularly Lenten, but we almost always sing william byrd’s ave verum on the first Sunday of lent.

  36. Athanasius says:

    Most certainly both Pange Lingua hymns (the ancient one and the one of St. Thomas) and Let all mortal flesh keep silence. I hate almost all vernacular hymns. I would rather have Gregorian chant or sacred polyphony all the time and never hear a stupid hymn again. Most hymns are girly and lame. Yet Let all mortal flesh has a gravity and manliness to it. It almost seems as though it is on par with the traditional melodies of the Roman Liturgy, and this is why if fits best.

  37. Techincally it would fall under Holy Week, but I absolutely love the Reproaches and Trisagion (in Gregorian Chant) on Good Friday.

  38. Tomas Lopez says:

    How about “Gather Us In”? Listening to it is penitential—kind of like a musical hair shirt.

  39. Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. says:

    Tomas Lopez, …… ummm, perhaps a musical hair shirt made of razor blades.

    Habemus Papam, where did you get that version of “O Sacred Head”? Are there other verses?

  40. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Allegri’s Miserere

    Por su puesto.

  41. Favorite hymn for Lent is an Anglican one, “My song is Love Unknown”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNN9DBobCdw

    My song is love unknown,
    My Savior’s love to me;
    Love to the loveless shown,
    That they might lovely be.
    O who am I, that for my sake
    My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

    He came from His blest throne
    Salvation to bestow;
    But men made strange, and none
    The longed for Christ would know:
    But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
    Who at my need His life did spend.

    Sometimes they strew His way,
    And His sweet praises sing;
    Resounding all the day
    Hosannas to their King:
    Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
    And for His death they thirst and cry.

    Why, what hath my Lord done?
    What makes this rage and spite?
    He made the lame to run,
    He gave the blind their sight,
    Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
    Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

    They rise and needs will have
    My dear Lord made away;
    A murderer they saved,
    The Prince of life they slay,
    Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
    That He His foes from thence might free.

    In life, no house, no home
    My Lord on earth might have;
    In death no friendly tomb
    But what a stranger gave.
    What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
    But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

    Here might I stay and sing,
    No story so divine;
    Never was love, dear King!
    Never was grief like Thine.
    This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
    I all my days could gladly spend.

    Favorite Choral piece for Lent is probably a toss up between Liszt’s ‘Via Crucis’ (Stations of the Cross) and Victoria’s ‘Responsories for Tenebrae’.

  42. For Holy Thursday, St. Thomas’s glorious hymn Pange lingua.

  43. Ferdinand Gajewski says:

    I was thinking of the plainsong Pange lingua. Durufle’s motet, Tantum ergo, is very moving.

  44. Mary Weaver says:

    Without a doubt, Heinrich Schutz’s “Seven Words of Jesus Christ From the Cross.” Our quartet sang it (in German) last year on Palm Sunday in concert and will do so again this year. It begins and ends with beautiful choral selections and has two instrumental “symphonia” that give the listener time to meditate on what he has heard. In the middle is a series of recitatives in which the singers proclaim the text of the seven words. One of the tenors sings the part of Jesus Christ, and a soprano, alto, tenor, and bass serve as narrators and minor characters. Hauntingly beautiful and deeply moving.

  45. KJ MacArthur says:

    For a choral anthem, I’d suggest “In jejunio et fletu” by Thomas Tallis. It is a setting, I believe, of a matins response for the first Sunday in Lent. At a Tallis workshop we were told that it was written for a public penance service for the English nation on the occasion of Queen Mary’s restoration of relations with the Church.

  46. Mark W says:

    The first song that comes to mind is “O come and mourn with me awhile” with the tune I found it with in a 1953 Pius X Hymnal. Unfortunately, the hymn name was listed simply as German 1631 (T.M.) and I can’t find it anywhere else.

  47. Fr Arsenius says:

    THE FIFTH WORD

    John 19:28—After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), “I thirst.”

    The most haunting hymn I have ever known that dovetails perfectly with this Scripture is the Rev. Horatio Bonar’s 1846 verse, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”. You can find the text at http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/i/i066b.html, but don’t use the second or third hymn settings that they indicate at the bottom of the page(Kingsfold; Vox Dilecti): use “The Third Tune” – it’s linked to a piece by Thomas Tallis, and can be found in many hymnals. (You can download a SATB setting at http://www.ceciliaschola.org/scores/heardthevoice.pdf)

  48. Fr Arsenius says:

    THE SEVENTH WORD

    Luke 23:46—Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

    As a followup to all seven of the Last Words, try Isaac Watts’ 1707 “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”. You can find the text at http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/e/whenisur.htm I can’t say I much care for the first two hymn settings listed (Hamburg and Eucharist), but the third (Rockingham(Miller)) isn’t too bad.

    But my decided preference for some time now has been the setting by Fr. Henry Bryan Hayes (OSB). It’s published in the little Benedictine Book of Song by The Liturgical Press in Collegeville, MN. The melodic line pretty powerful, but best sung by a soloist and/or trained choir on account of the unusual rhythms and intervals.

  49. Fr Arsenius says:

    Sorry: that should have been “Henry Bryan Hays”, not “Henry Bryan Hayes”.

  50. Hugh Dowell says:

    I might not be very popular for saying this, but I am a bit of a fan of Taize chant. Certainly not all of them, or in every situation; and I still hold the ideal of Gregorian chant and polyphony. Yet I do find the Taize chants can be a great way to bridge the gap between the hymn sandwich or guitar music etc. Some of the ones for Passion-tide are very nice. Memory tells me that there are a number, of which the ‘Crucem Tuam’ and ‘Salvator Mundi’ are quite beautiful.

    Though not directly related to the Last Words one of my favourite hymns of the season is one I am certain is called ‘Now is the Healing Time Decreed'; another one that should be used more often is Praise to the Holiest in the Height. Great words by Cardinal Newman but the music is perhaps a bit upbeat for a pentential season

  51. RC says:

    Here’s another vote for “Ah, holy Jesus”/Herzliebster Jesu. It might be suitable to sing verses of it between the seven “words”.

  52. eft says:

    Athanasius (29 Jan 6:16 pm): “…Let all mortal flesh…”

    Remember to review carefully all texts!
    This hymn requires a Lenten adjustment in the final verse:

    At His feet the six winged seraph,
    Cherubim with sleepless eye,
    Veil their faces to the presence,
    As with ceaseless voice they cry:
    PRAISE TO YOU LORD JE-SUS CHRI-I-I-I-IST,
    KING OF END-LESS GLO-O-O-RY!

    It is an excellent Palm-Passion Sunday Communion hymn:
    retire organ stops through each verse
    while the choir sings in harmony;
    at final verse choir continues unaccompanied
    during which the organ is powered down;
    all choir voices sing unison those final two lines.
    The ensuing silence is stunning.

  53. Father,for the fifth word “I thirst.” might I suggest “The Servant Song” by Richard Gilliard? Very different from most suggested. Not a classical composition, nor German or Latin. It speaks to my heart. When I hear it, I often wonder if I would have had the courage to stay by the Cross as Christ suffered. Which is followed by the thought that I wasn’t there, but I can care for those who “thirst” around me today. I pray for Grace to give me courage and strength to do so. Wonderful reminder for me, especially during Lent.

  54. Bailey Walker says:

    “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”
    “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded”
    “Stabat Mater”

  55. Nathan says:

    + JMJ +

    Father, the old “St Gregory Hymnal” (available from Neumann Press)has the Seven Last Words, in Latin, set to music. I can’t remember the composer (it could be Bruckner) and it suffers a little from the editing/arrangement of the St Gregory(IMO), but if late 19th century style would suffice, they are beautiful.

    In Christ

  56. Use the Graduale Romanum. Basta.

  57. Prof. Basto says:

    1. – Christus factus est;

    2. – Vexilla Regis;

    3. – Stabat Mater;

    4. – Pange lingua gloriosi praelium with Crux fidelis;

    5. – De profundis;

    6. – Incipit oratio Ieremiae Prophetae;

    7. – Nos autem gloriari.

  58. paulus says:

    One of my most favorite hymns for Lent is “Ah! Holy Jesus” which unfortunately never seems to be used in the churches where I have worked or attended. It is about impossible to think of Lent without thinking of a Stabat MAter, and there are so many settings that are beautiful, from Palestrina to Caldara to Dvorak. One of my favorite “Seven LAst Words” settings is by HAydn.

  59. Sylvia says:

    If you could do polyphony, one of my favorite pieces the choir sings at Christendom during Lent is “Tenebrae Factae Sunt” by Marco Ingegneri (corresponds to the 4th Word): beautiful and haunting, especially at the climax. You might want to contact Dr. Poterack to get the version we used, because I think it is slightly different from what you find on CPDL.

  60. Oliver Hayes says:

    The one hymn which I most associate with Passiontide and the Seven Last Words is the one which is always sung in Holy Week in my parish church the Birmingham Oratory, translated by Fr. Edward Caswell, one of the Oratory community and an associate of Newman:

    Glory be to Jesus,
    who in bitter pains
    poured for me the life blood
    from his sacred veins!

    Grace and life eternal
    in that blood I find,
    blest be his compassion
    infinitely kind!

    Blest through endless ages
    be the precious stream
    which from endless torment
    doth the world redeem!

    There the fainting spirit
    drinks of life her fill;
    there, as in a fountain,
    laves herself at will.

    Abel’s blood for vengeance
    pleaded to the skies;
    but the blood of Jesus
    for our pardon cries.

    Oft as it is sprinkled
    on our guilty hearts,
    Satan in confusion
    terror-struck departs;

    Oft as earth exulting
    wafts its praise on high,
    angel hosts, rejoicing,
    make their glad reply.

    Lift ye then your voices;
    swell the mighty flood;
    louder still and louder
    praise the precious blood.

  61. Oliver Hayes says:

    The one hymn which I most associate with Passiontide and the Seven Last Words is the one which is always sung in Holy Week in my parish church the Birmingham Oratory, translated by Fr. Edward Caswell, one of the Oratory community and an associate of Newman:

    Glory be to Jesus,
    who in bitter pains
    poured for me the life blood
    from his sacred veins!

    Grace and life eternal
    in that blood I find,
    blest be his compassion
    infinitely kind!

    Blest through endless ages
    be the precious stream
    which from endless torment
    doth the world redeem!

    There the fainting spirit
    drinks of life her fill;
    there, as in a fountain,
    laves herself at will.

    Abel’s blood for vengeance
    pleaded to the skies;
    but the blood of Jesus
    for our pardon cries.

    Oft as it is sprinkled
    on our guilty hearts,
    Satan in confusion
    terror-struck departs;

    Oft as earth exulting
    wafts its praise on high,
    angel hosts, rejoicing,
    make their glad reply.

    Lift ye then your voices;
    swell the mighty flood;
    louder still and louder
    praise the precious blood.

  62. Michael says:

    “Crux Fidelis” from the Liturgy of Good Friday says it all. You can find it in the Liber Usualis (1961 edition), p. 742 ff, or in the St Andrew Daily Missal (1962 edition).

  63. My favorite hymns include:
    When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
    Ah, Holy Jesus (Herzliebster Jesu)
    O Sacred Head Now Wounded
    Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

  64. Daniel Kirkland says:

    “Crucifixus” by Lotti is a profoundly beautiful musical treatise on the crucifixion narrative from the Nicene Creed. One is especially moved by the beginning dissonances in the piece that build to a climax on the word crucifixus. I recommend it both for Church (it is relatively short)and prayer. God bless!

  65. Maureen says:

    “O Come and Mourn with Me A While”
    http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/c/ocomamwm.htm

    Cyberhymnal lists as an alternate tune “Das Leiden des Herrn”. Maybe that’s it? Go and take a listen to their MIDI.

  66. Kristin says:

    The entire St. Matthew Passion (J.S. Bach) is an incredible meditation which I would highly recommend for you to listen to during Lent.

    If you have a choir that can sing polyphony, I would recommend:
    O Vos Omnes (Pablo Casals)
    Tenebrae Factae Sunt (Palestrina)
    Christus Factus Est (Felice Anerio)
    Caligaverunt Oculi Mei (Tomas Luis de Victoria)
    Stabat Mater (I love Pergolesi’s version, but it would probably be too long for your purposes)

    If you want the people in the pews to sing, perhaps these hymns would work:
    O Sacred Head Surrounded / O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden
    Lord Jesus, Think On Me
    O Cross of Christ, Immortal Tree
    Parce, Domine (chant)

    Let us know how it turns out!
    God bless!

  67. Embee says:

    My favorite Lenten hymn is “Forty Days and Forty Nights” http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/f/o/fortyday.htm

  68. Kathy says:

    Vexilla Regis and the Lamentations of Jeremiah.

    By the way, for those who sing in English, I hope it’s all right to mention that my translations of the Stabat Mater and the Office Hymn Nunc Tempus Acceptabile may be used freely this Lent.

    Stabat Mater is here:http://hymnographyunbound.blogspot.com/2007/02/stabat-mater-dolorosa.html

    Nunc Tempus Acceptabile: http://www.adoremus.org/0306LentenHymn.html and http://www.canticanova.com/articles/easter/art5l1.htm

  69. arvis says:

    “Pater, dimitte illis…”

    Kneeling in tears, behold me at Thy feet.
    Like Magdalen, forgiveness I entreat.
    O pardon me, Jesus, Thy mercy I implore.
    I will never more offend Thee, no, nevermore.

    Since my poor soul Thy precious Blood has cost, suffer it not forever to be lost.
    O pardon me, Jesus…

    “Amen dico tibi…”

    I can scarcely see Thee, Jesus,
    for the tears that fill my eyes,
    When I know on Cal’vry hanging
    my dear Savior for me dies.
    Ah, why not the victim changing;
    why not I, the sinner, bleed?
    Mine the sin, my dearest Savior.
    Mine, yes, mine the wicked deed.

    All my sins have made me guilty
    of the torment Thou didst bear.
    Let my love and service henceforth
    all my wicked life repair.
    In Thy death my hopes reposing,
    on Thy love my soul relies.
    Let me suffer with Thee, Jesus,
    that with Thee I may arise.

    “Mulier, ecce filius…”

    Our Lady who is full of grace
    stood in anguish at her place,
    Stood erect beneath the Cross,
    close to Him Who died for us.

    What must we, the guilty, feel,
    as beside the Cross we kneel?
    Ours the voices of the foe,
    ours the hand that struck the blow.

    Help us, Mary, full of grace,
    to look upon His suff’ring face.
    Then may we closer to thee move,
    and learn to look upon His love.

    “Deus meus…”

    O fearful sight foretold to man:
    the cloven spar, the sacred span
    Whence God’s atoning Blood once ran.
    Holy Cross.
    What stains are these incarnadine?
    What scars are these more red than wine,
    Of more than human passion sign?
    Holy Cross.

    It is the sunless stricken Tree
    upon whose branches, sore to see,
    O mystery, died One of Three!
    Holy Cross.
    What storm swept o’er its boughs that day,
    when God to God did sorely pray,
    And human guilt ebbed slow away!
    Holy Cross.

    “Sitio.”

    How fast His Hands and Feet are nailed:
    His blessed Tongue with thirst is tied;
    His failing Eyes are blind with Blood;
    Jesus, our Love, is crucified!

    Seven times He spoke, seven words of love,
    and all three hours His silence cried
    For mercy on the souls of men;
    Jesus, our Love, is crucified!

    “Consummatum est.”

    Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam
    redemisti mumdum. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi. Adoramus te Christe.

    “Pater, in manus tuas…”

    O Sacred Head, surrounded by crown of piercing thorn,
    O bleeding Head, so wounded, reviled and put to scorn,
    Death’s pallid hue comes o’er Thee, the glow of life decays,
    Yet angel hosts adore Thee, and tremble as they gaze.

    I see Thy strength and vigor all fading in the strife,
    And death with cruel rigor bereaving Thee of life.
    O agony and dying! O Love to sinners free.
    Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn Thy face on me.

    In this Thy bitter passion, Good Shepherd, think of me
    With Thy most sweet compassion, unworthy though I be.
    Beneath Thy Cross abiding, forever would I rest,
    In Thy dear Love confiding, and with Thy Presence blest.

  70. mwa says:

    2-Thomas Ravenscroft’s setting of “O Lord Turn Not Away Thy Face”
    7-“O’erwhelmed in Depths of Woe” (saevo dolorum turbine) there is a simple setting by Montini in the Gregorian Hymnal

  71. We wanted to let you know that the Cyber Hymnal has a new URL: http://www.hymntime.com/tch. Please spread the word!

    Your Web site currently links to the Cyber Hymnal from commnts in this blog.

    God bless…

    Dick