Francis Poulenc – O Magnum Mysterium

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Alleluia!

Originally a Gregorian responsorial chant, the O Magnum Mysterium has been the subject of many new compositions celebrating the mystery of the incarnation of Christ. An all time favorite is French composer Francis Poulenc’s version from his Quatre Motets pour le temps de Noël (Four Motets for Christmas) (1952).

Latin text

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
iacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Iesum Christum.
Alleluia!

English translation

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Alleluia!

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