A Latin hymn from the 7th or 8th Century, it has gone through several translations. This one comes from the 1986 New English Hymnal.
Yesterday the Christian Church celebrated Ascension Day, forty days after Easter, the day our Lord ascended to Heaven.
Salute the last, and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son,
Ye whose true tears, or tribulation
Have purely wash’d, or burnt your drossy clay.
Behold, the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon;
Nor doth he by ascending show alone,
But first He, and He first enters the way.
O strong Ram, which hast batter’d heaven for me!
Mild lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark’d the path!
Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see!
O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath;
And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.
| Latin text
Coelos ascendit hodie
| English translation
Today into the heavens has ascended
For a few years now I have regularly looked, with anticipation, for a new post on a blog titled First Known When Lost. The latest one is no disappointment:
I often feel that I have spent most of my life sleepwalking or daydreaming. Asleep at the switch. Nearly everything has escaped me. But each moment offers the possibility of redemption: a new opportunity to be awake and to be present. “Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.”
Fortunately for us, the beautiful particulars of the World are boundlessly and endlessly merciful. Every day, without fail, they gently shake us by the shoulders and whisper in our ear: “Wake up! Look over here. Listen to this.” Not in so many words, of course. The World is wordless. Yet it is not reticent. Nor is it impassive. Hence, immanence.
I’ve been reading Early Days on the Western Slope of Colorado and came across this reference to the Mississippi River, which reminded me of a new Alison Krauss recording, River in the Rain, also about the Mississippi.
From the book:
…[E]ventually, we reached that broad expanse at the outlet of the Ohio and were rocking on the broad bosom of the Father of Waters, the Mississippi. Melancholy has marked the Mississippi for her own. Visit its shores anywhere and a weird mournful atmosphere mellows the scene. One thinks of the myriads of mound builders and Indians who are dead, and of the many white people who ought to be. For scores and scores of miles the unending low shores, just mere nothing covered with willows. Soft maples so thick that none ever becomes a tree make monotonous mounds of foliage behind the willows.
I’ve seen the Mississippi and it is impressive, powerful, and almost epic in our American lore. At the very least, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn come to mind, as well as gay steamboats, and loggers. Although I wouldn’t have thought to portray the river that way, I agree, one does get a sense of melancholy when experiencing it, or at least I have.
Early Days On The Western Slope of Colorado (1913), is a first person account of the experiences of Sidney Jocknick between 1870 and 1883 when he migrated from Washington D.C. to Colorado. It is the kind of history I like to read.
From the 1945 Prayer Book of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favor to behold and bless thy servant The President of the United States, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.