O Magnum Mysterium

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Although the ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ text is quite common, reading it as a poem rather than a simple liturgical text begs the often-unanswered question: whose words are these? The scene occurs before even the shepherds have arrived, and the words do not make sense coming from Mary or Joseph. My answer is that these words are spoken by the angel Gabriel. Above the simple nativity and the rejoicing heavenly host, Gabriel marvels at the significance of the birth of Jesus. He understands the beauty of the scene, as well as its grave significance, and after appreciating this miracle, joins with the host of angels singing praise to God.

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Jesum Christum.

O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear Christ the Lord.

for information on obtaining sheet music, please contact me at WalkerWilliamsMusic@gmail.com