St. Peter Damian, pray for us

The cardinal-monk and Church reformer St. Peter Damian had a hobby. He wrote hymns.

It’s lovely, I think. that this zealous and gifted leader who wrote against the sins of Gomorrah among the clerics of his day, and revived the use of physical discipline as a help to the soul, also showed himself to be truly a simple monk at heart.

Before they were rewritten in the 17th century, many of the hymns of our vast treasury were characterized by a candor and simplicity that would seem to belong peculiarly to the monastery. And yet their devotional tone also shares with us profound theological truths.

Among the objects of St. Peter’s devotions was the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we acknowledge in our day as the Mother of the Church.

Today would be a good day to offer our prayers with his for the Church’s purification in trial, perseverance in truth, and the blessings of endless multitudes of new Catholics devoted to, and trusting in, Jesus Christ, whose graces come to us through the “yes” of our Blessed Mother.

O Theotokos, Mary blest,
Our human nature’s shining crest,
Through you we have our liberty,
Free children of the light to be.

O Virgin, Queen of heav’n and earth,
Though of King David’s stock by birth,
Your royal dignity has come
Not from your fathers, but your Son.

Remove us from the ancient root.
Graft us in Him, the newborn shoot.
Through you may we become by grace,
A royal, priestly, human race.

O offer holy prayers to win
Release from all our bonds of sin.
We praise your merits to the skies:
May we in heaven share your prize.

Exemplar of virginity,
Give glory to the Trinity,
Whose endless treasure-store of gifts
Through you our human nature lifts.

St. Peter Damian. My trans.

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