PODCAzT 76: An Advent hymn dissected “Verbum supernum prodiens”, with digressions

I decided during Advent to drill into the hymns in the Liturgia Horarum

We continue our drilling with the hymn for the Office of Readings in the post-Conciliar Liturgia Horarum called Verbum supernum prodiens, with its unhappier variation from the 1632 reform which is used in the Breviarium Romanum

I dissect this hymn, sing it in the Gregorian chant tone, and we hear different translations and many other musical versions.

Once again I ramble a great deal while digging into the meaning of the hymn.

I need to make a correction to something I mention in the PODCAzT.  I once accidentally say "cursus declivus", wrong declension, rather than "decllivis". ARGH!  Declivis, nominative, is "inclining downwards, sloping".  That declivus grated on my ear, but it is too much work to correct the recording right now.  I also made an edit to a comment about the use of the Nativity preface.

Sing the hymns! Buy a Liber Hymnarius

Along the way you might hear these versions of Verbum supernum prodiens:

On yoolis night: medieval carols and motets – Anonymous 4
Christmas Lullaby – Kim Robertson
Noveaento – Coro Citta’ di Roma – Damijan Mocnik
Phos Hilaron – O heavenly Word – Paul Avgerinos (this is pretty "new age-ie", beware)
O Heiland reiss die Himmel auf, Op. 74, No. 2 – J. Brahms – Emerson String Quartet & Leon Fleisher
Tryin’ To Get Ready – O Heild reiss die Himmel auf – Janet Sullivan Whitaker

The iTunes feed is working.  It stops and starts again… mysteriously.  Beats me!

075 08-12-04 An Advent hymn dissected "Conditor alme siderum"; Fr. Z digresses far afield
074 08-11-26 A hymn to Christ the King dissected – before and after Vatican II; a proclamation; "Sieze the Day" in Scots
073 08-11-16 Augustine on Ps. 95(96) and Fr. Z on how to avoid going to Hell
072 08-11-11 The death of St. Martin; starlings, cuckolds, bell ringing and a skull
071 08-11-06 "Faith inscribed across your heart": Benedict on Cyril of Jerusalem & Cyril on faith, your treasure
070 08-11-01 Venerable Bede on All Saints; a collage; don Camillo (Part IV)
069 08-10-30 Augustine on Ps 103; Benedictines can sing!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ADVENT, PODCAzT, PRAYERCAzT: What Does The (Latin) Prayer Really Sound L, WDTPRS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sacristy_rat says:

    I highly recommend the book, “The Hymns of the Roman Liturgy” put out by Preserving Christian Publications.
    It has all the hymns of the classical breviary, their literal translation and a commentary.

  2. Craigmaddie says:

    Father, you mention that in the General Judgement all our deeds will be uncovered. I think that I read or heard somewhere that the sins of the Elect will be “covered” and that it is, in fact, only the reprobate (and God grant that any of us reading this shall not be counted among them) whose deeds will ‘displayed’ before all. Or have I picked this up wrongly?

  3. Father Z: In several previous comments, I’ve tried (so far unsuccessfully) to smoke out someone else who has downloaded and listened to all 76 (so far) of your PodcaZts.

    But I don’t know that any of the previous ones has seemed more fascinating than today’s (nor any series better than “dissections”). Of course, it may be relevant that just last week I received from Paxbook my 4-volume Liturgia Horarum set and have been trying to “drill into it” (to coin an original phrase), understanding that in the Latin LOH the hymn is often the high point of the Hour, whereas in the ICEL LOH it’s precisely the part — aside from the “psalm prayers” that are hardly worth mentioning — of each hour that’s reflexively skipped.

    Discussion of the grammar of each line, with several translations ranging from literal to poetic. How could it get any better than this?

    On to Vox clara ecce intonat!

  4. Sacristy rat: Thanks for the reminder of the PCP reprint of Fr. Connelly’s “The Hymns of the Roman Liturgy”. Probably just what I need, my psalm-only Latin needing lots of help with the hymns.

  5. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Greetings Fr Z! I was just trying to leave a voicemail at the 651.314.4554 number, but got a message that this number has been disconnected. Thought you ought to know.

  6. Mark M says:


    Has anyone reported the Feed not working again?

    I ask because this episode never showed up in iTunes. I then checked the iTunes store (via your links above and left) and no episodes are showed there… :-(

  7. Mark M says:

    P.S. I believe I’ve worked out why…!

    The Feed is at wdtprs.com/blog/?feed=rss2 – however, this contains only so many recent posts. By the time I loaded iTunes (I had been travelling), the Verbum Supernum episode had dropped off the Feed list and so I never got it.

    …or at least I think that’s why!

    Can anyone else explain?

  8. Daniel Kirkland says:


    I was intrigued by your question regarding the general judgment. The answer to your question is here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08552a.htm

    Go to “Object of the Judgment.” It would seem that ALL will be revealed.

    Hope this helps.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for another great podcazt! I liked how you went through each verse in both Latin and English followed by your explication of what the Latin was saying and trying to convey in each verse, with the Latin hymn in its entirety read again at the end. I also found interesting your examples of how meaningful a single word choice can be.

    Thank you for all the work you do!

Comments are closed.