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A beautiful Advent hymn written by St. Ambrose to prepare for Christmas

SAINT AMBROSE
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Even St. Augustine admired its lyrics.

St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan in the 4th century, was a spiritual giant in his day and has always been regarded as a Doctor of the Church. Among his many theological writings, Ambrose is also credited with various hymns and poems that were used in a liturgical setting.

St. Augustine relates his thoughts on one of Ambrose’s hymns in a sermon on the Incarnation, “Blessed Ambrose has sung of this departure of our giant most briefly and beautifully in the hymn which you sang a little earlier. For speaking about the Lord Christ, he speaks as follows: ‘His departure from the Father, his return to the Father; his journey down to hell, his journey back to the seat of God.’”

Below is this beautiful poem by St. Ambrose, that speaks eloquently of “Thy cradle here shall glitter bright, and darkness breathe a newer light.”

O COME, Redeemer of the earth,
and manifest thy virgin-birth.
Let every age in wonder fall:
such birth befits the God of all.

Begotten of no human will
but of the Spirit, Thou art still
the Word of God in flesh arrayed,
the promised fruit to man displayed.

The Virgin’s womb that burden gained,
its virgin honor still unstained.
The banners there of virtue glow;
God in his temple dwells below.

Proceeding from His chamber free
that royal home of purity
a giant in twofold substance one,
rejoicing now His course to run.

O equal to the Father, Thou!
gird on Thy fleshly mantle now;
the weakness of our mortal state
with deathless might invigorate.

Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
and darkness breathe a newer light
where endless faith shall shine serene
and twilight never intervene.

All praise, eternal Son, to Thee,
whose advent sets Thy people free,
whom, with the Father, we adore,
and Holy Ghost, for evermore. Amen.

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