1st Vespers for Holy Family (BrevRom): “ineffable” sighting

For my weary brethren, 1st Vespers for Holy Family from the Breviarium Romanum.  I sing the hymn and recite the rest.  FOLLOW ALONG.

There is a prime use of “ineffable”.

The hymn is beautiful in both words and melody.  Here is a loose poetic translation:

Hymn (O lux beata caelitum)

O highest hope of mortals,
Blest Light of Saints above,
O Jesu, on whose boyhood
Home smiled with kindly love;

And thou whose bosom nursed him,
O Mary, highly graced,
Whose breast gave milk to Jesus,
Whose arms thy God embraced;

And thou of all men chosen
To guard the Virgin’s fame,
To whom God’s Son refused not
A Father’s gracious name;

Born for the nation’s healing,
Of Jesse’s lineage high,
Behold the suppliants kneeling,
O hear the sinners’ cry!

The sun returned to evening,
Dusks all the twilight air:
We, lingering here before you,
Pour out our heartfelt prayer.

Your home was as a garden
Made glad with fairest flowers;
May life thus blossom sweetly
In every home of ours.

All praise to Thee, O Jesus,
who parents dost obey;
Praise to the sovereign Father
and Paraclete for aye.

V. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord.
R. They shall praise thee for ever and ever

That one verse in Latin is worth the effort to learn Latin and to learn to sing Gregorian chant:

Maria, dives gratia,
O sola quae casto potes
Fovere Iesum pectore,
Cum lacte donans oscula


O Mary, rich in grace,
O lone one who are able with a chaste
breast to warm Jesus,
giving kisses with milk

The Collect:

Domine Iesu Christe, qui Mariae et Ioseph subditus, domesticam vitam ineffabilibus virtutibus consecrasti: fac nos, utriusque auxilio, Familiae sanctae tuae exemplis instrui, et consortium consequi sempiternum.

Lord Jesus Christ, who subject to Mary and Joseph, consecrated family life by unspeakable virtues, cause us, by the aid of both, to be instructed by the examples of Your Holy Family, and to attain everlasting fellowship.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JohnNYC says:

    Reverend and dear Sir,
    I hope all is well where you are and I’m sorry I hardly had the chance to say “hi” properly at Holy Innocents last week. [I had even told Nancy Llewellyn out at Wyoming Catholic College I’d say “hi” to you on her behalf]. …. Hmmmm, now is as good a time as any: Nancy says “hi” !
    In any event, I LOVE that beautifully tender, heart-moving, misericordious verse which you so accurately render into English.

    O Mary, rich in grace,
    O lone one who are able with a chaste
    breast to warm Jesus,
    giving kisses with milk.

    Also, isn’t it great how the structure of the phrase reflects the action with the adjective for “chaste” (casto) and its noun for “chest/breast” (pectore) surrounding and, as it were, embracing the name of Our Lord? Isn’t that awesome? I love that. For your readers who haven’t studied Latin yet: there’s no time like the present and your appreciation (and understanding) of our super-rich liturgy will really deepen …. it’s pretty awesome.



  2. RichR says:

    I always feel like I’m at the Sabine Farm praying Vespers with a silent crowd by candlelight while a harsh snow falls outside. My intentions were for Bp. Nienast.

    Loved the ineffable pause. {grin}

  3. RichR says:

    Correction: Archbishop Nienstedt.

  4. Mariana says:

    Thank you, Father! The whole thing + the podcast reduced me to tears, as it was exactly what I needed to hear.

  5. Legisperitus says:

    Love the sound of “ineffabilibus”… like some great beast from the pen of Dr. Seuss.

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