Custodes Hominum Psallimus Angelos

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An office hymn historically assigned for Matins and Vespers on the feast of the Guardian Angels. It has sometimes been ascribed to Robert Bellarmine, but more recently (Connelly, 229) it is credited to an unknown author of his era. The four strophes each contain three Asclepiads and a Glyconic. In the first two stanzas the author praises the angels whom God has given for additional help to man, who is always under the attack of enemies. Lucifer, the fallen angel, enviously strives to draw to destruction those whom God invites to heaven. In the third stanza the Guardian Angel is implored to protect his charges from spiritual illness (perhaps heresy) and all that deprives man of peace of soul. The doxology mentions machina triplex, the threefold fabric made up of heaven, earth, and purgatory or hell. The author has summarized in this hymn the traditional role of the angels as guardians of nations (Ex 23.20; Dan 10.13) and of individuals (Tob 512; Mt 18.10).

Bibliography: h. a. daniel, Thesaurus hymnologicus, 5 v. (Halle-Leipzig 184156) 2:375, text. j. h. newman, ed., Hymni ecclesiae (London 1865) 157158, text. p. guÉranger, L'Année liturgique, 7 v. in 12 (Paris 18781901) 5:364372. j. connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy (Westminster, MD 1957) 229231, Eng. tr.

[m. m. beyenka]