This last verse of this carol takes on a whole new significance when looked at through Eucharistic eyes. Wilcocks penned the greatest chord in the repertoire for “WORD of the Father now in flesh appearing.” This is not only true of the incarnation but at the consecration in every Mass. The holy spirit overshadows the priest as He did Our Blessed Lady and the Eternal Word is Made Flesh.
As a director of liturgical music, I have the privilege of preparing, teaching and performing the great chants of the church and her rich polyphonic repertoire. I have often thought that I would like to find a way to share the beauty and theological depth of the texts which comprise the liturgy. They have indeed been inspired by God the Holy Ghost through generations and many were penned by saints. I hope that sharing liturgical texts, liturgical chant and motets, I might aid others in deepening their appreciation of the prayer of the Church and in fostering their own personal prayer life.
The first text that I would like to share is the Vespers Hymn for Passiontide, Vexilla Regis. The hymn was written by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609). The hymn is also used on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
VEXILLA Regis prodeunt: Fulget Crucis mysterium, Qua vita mortem pertulit, Et morte vitam protulit.
Quae vulnerata lanceae Mucrone diro, criminum Ut nos lavaret sordibus, Manavit unda, et sanguine.
Impleta sunt quae concinit David fideli carmine, Dicendo nationibus: Regnavit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decora et fulgida, Ornata regis purpura, Electa digno stipite Tarn sancta membra tangere.