Salve, Festa Dies

| | Comments (0)

limbo-fraangelico_gr.jpg

It is the custom in some monasteries to go round the cloister, singing the Salve, Festa Dies, in procession before Lauds on Easter morning. Many years ago I awoke on Easter morning with the readings of the Great Paschal Vigil still fresh in my heart, and composed a strophe for each one, adapted to the lilting chant melody of the Salve, Festa Dies. The incomparable refrain is sung in Latin and repeated after each one of the strophes.

The Dominicans had, in various houses of their Order, the practice of carrying the Blessed Sacrament in this Easter morning procession. We read in the book for the Sacred Triduum of the Order of Preachers: In diluculo festi Resurrectionis Domini, in pluribus Conventibus, immediate post Matutinas, in memoriam tanti beneficii, fit Processio, et deportatur sanctissimum Eucharistiae Sacramentum per claustrum, sicit in die Corporis Christi, cum magna solemnitate. Wonderful!

Salve, Festa Dies

R. Salve festa dies toto venerabilis aevo
Qua Deus infernum vicit et astra tenet.

Let the whole cosmos dance in praise,
The skies, the oceans, mountains, hills and plains,
Sun and moon and stars in chorus ranged,
Praise Christ now risen from the dead!

Old Adam stirs from ancient sleep,
And Mother Eve stands up to see the sight,
Christ extends his hand to set them free,
And Hades’ caverns bathe in light!

To Abraham the Guest returns
Who long ago was welcomed 'neath the tree;
Sarah’s joy spills over once again
For Christ is risen from the dead!

He is the First-Born from the dead,
The Lamb by Isaac in the thicket seen
The Lamb once slain upon the mount
The living Shepherd of the sheep!

Now Moses sees him face to face,
The Son called out of Egypt’s narrow place;
The Red Sea crossed, the broad place gained
In Christ now risen from the dead!

The shroud and napkin in the tomb
Love’s face concealed through Sabbath tears and gloom;
The dawn reveals Love’s face in light
And every fear is put to flight.

Come to the waters, all who thirst,
The wellspring flows to wash away the curse;
The Seed, the Sower, and the Bread
Is Christ now risen from the dead!

Baruch his oracle declaims:
With you is wisdom, strength, and length of days;
You send forth light and quick it goes;
You name the stars, for you they glow.

Now hearts of stone are turned to flesh,
The hard and frozen melt beneath his Breath;
The torrent rushes sweet and fresh
For Christ is risen from the dead!

It is the first day of the week;
The bright and deathless Eighth Day let us keep!
Angelic whiteness fill our eyes,
And birdsong tells it to the skies.

Myrrh-bearing women, turn around;
The One you seek by you waits to be found.
Be not afraid, do as I said,
For Christ is risen from the dead.

Let chants of glory roll like waves;
For Christ has led to freedom Egypt’s slaves;
The Father’s thirst at last is quenched,
The Spirit’s dew the Church has drenched.


Leave a comment

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

Categories

Archives