Caeli Deus Sanctissime

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A hymn of unknown authorship, traditionally sung at Vespers on Wednesday in the ferial office. Written in iambic trimeter, the hymn, in a manner appropriate for the evening hour, draws a poetic picture of the varying phases caused by the Creator in the coming and going of celestial light. The first strophe of the hymn refers to the creation of light. The second, following the account of Genesis 1:1419, describes the forming on the fourth day of the "glowing wheel" of the sun, and the assignment of their ordered movement to the moon and stars. The third strophe notes the use of sun and moon to begin and close the day, and to point out the beginning of the new month. The fourth makes the typical application of such hymns by asking God to expel darkness from human hearts and minds, and to free them from sin.

Bibliography: a. mirra, Gl'inni del breviario romano (Naples 1947). j. connelly, ed. and tr., Hymns of the Roman Liturgy (Westminster, Md. 1957).

[j. j. gavigan]