21 May 2009

It Was Upon Ascension Day

that the Venerable Bede reposed in Christ (we observe his day on May 25) in the year of our Lord 735. He wrote one of the most widely used hymns for the feast of the Ascension: "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing." Testifying to the underlying unity of the Church despite all the sad external divisions, this hymn is sung by Western Rite Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Protestants of various stripes. We usually sing it these days to the tune Lasst Uns Erfreuen. But here is what it would likely have sounded like in Bede's own ear, as sung by Pastor Ben Mayes on the wonderful Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood site:

A Hymn of Glory



Anonymous said...

I prefer the original.

Floyd Bass, SSP

Anonymous said...

Fr. William,
My soon to be three year old son (on the 25th), was born on Ascension Day. The really fun part is, that is also my ordination date. Wonderful connections and to share them with the sainted Venerable Bede!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I should tell you, my son's name is John and I am Fr. Benjamin. I forget that these comments of mine are listed as anonymous. :-(
Fr. Benjamin

Mimi said...

A blessed Feast, Father.

William Weedon said...


Me too!

Fr. Benjamin,

Neat connections!


Thank you, and I'll wish you yours a week early!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that the Venerable Bede sang in English. ;)


Rev. James Leistico said...

every year I wonder what I'm going to say this Ascension Day. This year I realized I could let the hymns guide the sermon, so I get to use Christopher Wordsworth's hymns to talk about how Enoch, Aaron, Joshua and Elijah point us to the Ascension work of Christ (LSB 494).

maybe next year we'll get back to singing with Bede and everybody else.

William Weedon said...

Now, Jon. OF COURSE he sang in English - we just wouldn't understand it. Recall what he was doing as he lay dying! But still I take your point. He wrote this hymn in Latin.

William Weedon said...

Christopher Wordsworth's texts are all fabulous. That man had to have been reading how the fathers unpack the Scriptures!

Rev. James Leistico said...

I guess we'd know for sure if we found Wordsworth talking about the ark as the holy Church (like in yesterday's TDP by Gregory the Great).

Pr. Lehmann said...

When Dr. Weinrich taught us about the hymn "See the Conqueror Mount in Triumph" said that Christopher Wordsworth was a professor of patristics at Oxford or Cambridge.

William Weedon said...

Pr. Lehmann,

Ha! I KNEW it!

Past Elder said...

You know, of course, he was one of the grand and glorious monkdom victorious Benedictines -- even if he was a North of the Umber dude (my people are South Folk of East Anglia). They spoke Northumbrian, we spoke Old English, though both are messed up German(ic), which is why die Christine and I get along. They also had the Celtic to Catholic thing just before his time (including his first abbot), we didn't.

I don't get 25 May. He died on 26 May. I was there (well, through what Fr Godfrey called "institutional memory"). 25 May is the feast day of Pope St Gregory VII. When Bede hit the big time with the General Roman Calendar in 1899, the date was set for 27 May since 26 May was already taken -- Philip Neri.

Past Elder said...

BTW, I forgot, Gregory VII (Hildebrand) and Augustine of Canterbury, who also died 26 May, were Benedictines too! Augustine got 28 May, but I think the barbarians (aka Vatican II) moved it up a day, which still ain't right, but the Eastern church got it right.

What a deal for a hardworking OSB who tried to get the date of Easter right, to die on such a crowded date.

William Weedon said...


It just seems to be the modern consensus on the date. I note that it is that day in Rome's current calendar and also in the Anglican. I've no idea why it was moved.

Past Elder said...

Well, I put on my gas mask, still useful in case of the presence of lutefisk, took two Pepto-Bismol, still useful in case I eat any, made sure the Maalox was close by just in case, and pulled up the bogus ordo calendar and sure as hell there he was on the 25th.

He was on the 27th from when they stuck him in there until the Revolution. Which means he's still there since the Roman church runs two calendars now -- oh wait, we do that too now -- if you follow the extraordinary calendar that used to be just the plain calendar until everything showed up in different forms of the same thing, taker your pick, where is that Maalox anyway.

Looks like they jacked Augustine around too.

Maybe this is it -- the way I heard it, he died on the vigil of the Ascension, not Ascension itself, and I've seen the DOD given variously as the 26th or 27th.

All the more interesting given the guy dated years from the Annunciation, ab incarnatione Domini, since life begins at conception, 25 March not 25 December would be the date of the Incarnation.

Leave it to Rome to make a total mess of everything. The bogus ordo should be removed root, branch, leaves and anything that fell to the ground that may possibly germinate.