O Sacred Head

Saturday, March 26, AD 2016

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Surrounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

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5 Responses to O Sacred Head

  • I too have always been touched by this moving, immensely grave and awe-inspiring hymn, melody married with outstand lyrics.
    I am no expert, and no musicology expert, but just an erstwhile organist and choir member. But I have been taught that several great musicians, starting with master musician Hans Leo Hassler in the early 1600’s, he who apparently “re-wrote” a secular love song or tune into this hymn; through the gifted Johann Cruger (d. 1662), who created some of the harmonies here, and included it in a still-influential historic hymnal of great religious songs; to the great master of music, Bach, where the hymn yet benefited even more greatly from Bach’s genius, Bach who orchestrated the amazing passing tones and harmonizations that adorn the soprano voice of the version we know today, and as many of you know, it appears in the St. Matthew’s Passion.

    On the textual side, there are so many wondrous hands in the construction and development of the Latin hymn, Salve Mundi Salutare: St Bernard of Clairvaux, whom Don McClarey cites, and I understand there many others known only to God.

    But especially worth noting, at least in my humble opinion, is the great English poet Robert Bridges (d. 1930), a man never much recognized during his lifetime who achieved note only after his passing. It was Bridges who found a fresh and yet originalist meaning in the text in his re-translation (he also has outstanding, in my opinion, versions of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, and “O Gladsome Light [the ancient hymn Phos Hilarion]), much of that translation which we use, sometimes slightly altered, today.
    I only wish those of you who read this could realize the joy of playing this slowly and serenely, like Don’s version of this hymn here, manuals and pedals, preserving all 4 marvelous Bach voices, on the organ. You leave the world behind.

  • In our Adoration Chapel Father has placed a likeness of the corpse of Christ on the altar. It’s very life like. A bloody and beaten Jesus is laying on a black cloth, a mace at his feet and the crown of thorns above his matted Sacred head. In His left open hand there are three large nails. The Holy souls in purgatory was my focus as prayers and meditations blanketed the life size Jesus grey and red.

    This visit wasn’t planned.

    After reading and listening to this hymn a dominant thought moved me to this tomb like depiction of Jesus at the Adoration Chapel.
    I might not have made the trip but for this gift of Grace placed before me on TAC.

    God is kind and merciful.
    Thanks for your contribution to the spreading of graces. I hope and pray many a soul was escorted home to Heaven from Purgatory by the actions and designs of Christ alone. If we were helpful at all may we only remember that it was our duty and responsibility to help neighbor….especially those neighbors in the the Church suffering on this quiet Holy Saturday in March.

    This experience and reflection I share with you so you know without a doubt that thoughts become actions, and yours sincerely moved me to do something for others today. A song in my heart hopefully gave pleasure to members of Christ’s elect.

  • http://wdtprs.com/blog/2016/03/thorn-of-the-crown-bleeds-with-good-friday-and-annunciation-fall-together/

    I hope you don’t mind, but if you do I understand. After all this isn’t my blog.

    I came across this rare event on Fr. Z’s site.
    The Annunciation and Good Friday falling on the same day, and the Miracle.

    I hope you enjoy it.

  • Philip, FYI, that is “The Dead Christ on the Shroud”, by Phillipe de Champaigne. Something truly marvelous, indeed.

  • Kmbold.

    That is it!
    Thank you.
    The dead Christ on the shroud.
    Have a great fifty days of Joy.

Prayers For Our Dead

Sunday, November 1, AD 2015


All Souls Day will be tomorrow and I thought this would be a good time to start a post where we can pray for our dead:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

I ask Lord that the souls of Larry McClarey, Donald D. McClarey, Mary McClarey, Raymond McClarey, Thelma McClarey, Ralph McClarey, Chuck McClarey, Roscoe McClarey, Betty Taylor, Chris Bissey, Rowena Barry, Nanny Barry, Alice Moore and Dyke Moore, and some poor soul known only to You, may even now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.  May we all share in the joy of those who see You face to face.

List the souls you wish to pray for in the comboxes.

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8 Responses to Prayers For Our Dead

  • I pray for my beloved husband, Gary, of 42 years who passed away 3 years ago.
    I also pray for my grandparents: Mary & Benjamin T and Florence & Edward G and
    my friends: Shirley G, Sadie W, Margaret P, and Fran K.
    May Jesus forgive all their sins and bring them into heaven.
    May they all rest in peace.

  • I pray for my parents Stanley & Helen Smialowski, my godfather Rev. Anthony Smialowski, my grandparents, Konstanty & & Katarzyna Smialowski & Karl & Elenora Oraczewski, uncles & aunts, Stanley & Stasia Labieniec, George & May Dorbuck, Joseph & Sophie Korocnzyk Walter & Helen Smialowski, Howard Ferris,Peter Bysiewicz, Caroline Ostrewski,, cousins: Lilliam Corrine Daniel Korocnzyk, Linda Fiori, extended family Michael Monn, James Perrtta, Takla Machnik Rostyk, Gregory Sironak, Antoni, Lottie & Frank Grejdus, Jacob Sr, Teresa, Jacob Jr & Clara Gacek, William Downey, James & Rena Naples. Friends: Edward & Toni Bulbo, Helen & Vicky Zimblick, Joseph & Yolanda Rosanski, James & Joanne Stone, Edward & Margaret Senk, Sophie Kulig, Marily Zack, Jean Zdynuk, Dominica Auidi, plus all my deceased classmates, neighbors, club members, ancestors, teachers, and all whom I met during my life.

  • I pray especially for the souls of my cousins Mark & Mary, brother and sister, who ended their own lives, one as a teenage boy, the other as a middle-aged woman. Only God understands. I pray also for the souls in the old cemetery down the road, our closest neighbors these past 20 years.
    Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

  • A certain dentist in Roanoke, Va, his wife, his sons, his nephews, and his grandson.

  • Went to a well attended Cemetery Service this afternoon at the Parish cemetery, where three friends and some acquaintances are buried. There were four stations, each with a Rosary decade, a hymn, the Eternal Rest prayer, and a petition.
    Went out of bounds to think of other cemeteries where my grandparents, great aunts and uncles, father, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and people I knew were.
    One soul, my foot doctor, left here privately two weeks ago and had spoken fondly of having his ashes sent to Boot Hill, but his father may not have done so. Pray he’s resting.
    ‘Sunday Night Prime’ is doing a series on Purgatory. Our Holy Mother requested at Fatima that these souls be remembered in prayer.

  • Suz, thank you for reminding us of St. Gertrude’s prayer for the souls in Purgatory.
    O God, I pray for my parents and my husband’s. For grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, all our relatives and friends. For a young veteran who took his own life. For KIAs, accident victims and anyone who died suddenly without benefit of clergy or an Act of Contrition. For aborted babies. For the nuns, brothers and priests who taught us in school. For persecuted Christians and victims of ISIS, and for those souls who have no one to pray for them. Have mercy on those of us left behind struggling with loss and continue to remind us that our loved ones are in a better place. Shower us with grace so that when it is our time we will be saved to join them. Amen.

  • Clyde Brown, Louise Brown, Jerry Robinson, Glen Halvorson, Gaylord Bice, Verna Jay Brown, Harmon Brown, Cindy Brown, Phil Brothers, Fran Hindsman

  • For our departed family, friends and relatives whose numbers seem to exceed those yet with us. Eternal rest, light and peace grant them Lord.

Messianic Prophecies: Zechariah 12: 10

Monday, December 9, AD 2013



Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, which we began in Advent 2011 and continued last year, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here and here, we come to Zechariah 12: 10:


10. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.

Saint Justin Martyr views this as a prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ:

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2 Responses to Messianic Prophecies: Zechariah 12: 10

O Sacred Head Surrounded

Friday, April 2, AD 2010

O sacred head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore thee
and tremble as they gaze

I see thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn thy face on me.

In this thy bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
with thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,
and with thy presence blest.

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