1.         O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum.


                O Joy! O Wonder, and Delight!

                    O Sacred Mysterie!

                My Soul a Spirit infinit!

                An Image of the Deitie!

                    A pure Substantiall Light!                                            (from My Spirit - Thomas Traherne)



                Hodie Christus natus est:

                Hodie Salvator apparuit:

                Hodie in terra canunt Angeli,

                    laetantur Archangeli:


                Moonless darkness stands between.

                Past, o Past, no more be seen!

                But the Bethlehem star may lead me

                To the sight of Him who freed me

                From the self that I have been.

                Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;

                Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;

                Now beginning, and alway:

                Now begin, on Christmas day.                                         (Gerard Manley Hopkins)


                Hodie exsultant justi, dicentes:

                Gloria in excelsis Deo,



2.            But not a star of all

                The innumerable host of stars has heard

                How He administered this terrestrial ball.

                Our race have kept their Lord's entrusted word.


                                Nor, in our little day,

                May His devices with the heavens be guessed,

                His pilgrimage to thread the Milky Way,

                Or His bestowals there be manifest.


                                But, in the eternities,

                Doubtless we shall compare together, hear

                A million alien Gospels, in what guise

                He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.


                O be prepared, my Soul!

                To read the inconceivable, to scan

                The million forms of God those stars unroll

                When, in our turn, we show to them a Man.                   (from Christ in the Universe - Alice Meynell)


O magnum mysterium.


3.            All things that turn to thee

                have their kingdom, their power, and their glory.

                Like the kingdom of the nightingale at twilight.              (from The Body of God - D H Lawrence)


                For so the whole round world is every way

                Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.                 (from Morte d'ArthurAlfred, Lord Tennyson)


4.            But I, a golden woman like the corn goddess,

                Watch the dark fields, and know when spring begins

                To the sound of the heart and the planetary rhythm,

                Fires in the heavens and in the hearts of men,

                Young people and young flowers come out in the darkness.      (from Invocation - Edith Sitwell)


Here is the time gone by, and I have not stirred!

                    The key not turned in the lock,

                    The Guide at my elbow ignored,

                    The treasure before me disdained!

                    And tomorrow there will be one day less!

                                Quicken me, quicken me, O God.                       (Anon.)


Be ye lamps unto yourselves.

                Hold to the truth within yourselves

                    as to the only lamp.                                                         (The Buddha)


                Be like a tree.

                The tree gives shade even to him who cuts off its boughs.         (Sri Chaitanya)

                I am the image of God.                                                                         (Angelus Silesius)

                Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace.                                    (St. Francis of Assisi)


5.            Give me the moon at my feet,

                    Put my feet upon the crescent, like a Lord!

                    O let my ankles be bathed in moonlight, that I may go

                    sure and moon-shod, cool and bright-footed

                        towards my goal.                                                          (from The Body of God - D H Lawrence)


6.            O Love, return to the dying world, as the light

                Of morning, shining in all regions, latitudes

                And households of high heaven within the heart.


                Now falls the night of the world: - O Spirit moving upon the waters

                Your peace instil

                In the animal heat and splendour of the blood.              (from Invocation - Edith Sitwell)


Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace.

                                Dona nobis pacem


© Christopher Brown 2000


The lines from Edith Sitwell’s poem “Invocation” are reprinted by kind permission of David Higham Associates

 and the Edith Sitwell Estate