Contents Caeli Deus sanctissime
O God, Whose Hand Hath Spread the Sky

Attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). This hymn continues with the theme of Creation present in the Vespers Hymns for Monday and Tuesday. Here the work of the fourth day, the creation of the heavenly bodies in the firmament, is chronicled (Gen 1, 14-19). This hymn is traditionally sung at Wednesday Vespers and is used in the Liturgia Horarum at Vespers for Wednesdays of the first and third weeks of the Psalter during Ordinary Time. Likewise the hymn is also found in the Roman Breviary for Wednesday Vespers.

CAELI Deus sanctissime,
qui lucidum centrum poli1
candore pingis igneo
augens decori2 lumine.
O GOD, whose hand hath spread the sky,
and all its shining hosts on high,
and painting it with fiery light,
made it so beauteous and so bright:
Quarto die qui flammeam
solis rotam constituens,
lunae ministras ordini,
vagos recursus siderum,3
Thou, when the fourth day was begun,
didst frame the circle of the sun,
and set the moon for ordered change,
and planets for their wider range:
Ut noctibus, vel lumini
diremptionis terminum,
primordiis et mensium
signum dares notissimum:
To night and day, by certain line,
their varying bounds Thou didst assign;
and gav'st a signal, known and meet,
for months begun and months complete.
Illumina cor hominum,4
absterge sordes mentium,
resolve culpae vinculum,
everte moles criminum.
Enlighten Thou the hearts of men:
polluted souls make pure again:
unloose the bands of guilt within:
remove the burden of our sin.
Praesta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
cum Spiritu Paraclito
regnans per omne saeculum.
Grant this, O Father, ever One
with Christ, Thy sole-begotten Son,
Whom, with the Spirit we adore,
one God, both now and evermore.

Latin from the Liturgia Horarum. Translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866).

Changes made by Pope Urban VIII in 1632 to the Roman Breviary:
1 qui lucidas mundi plagas.
2 decoro
3 Quarto die qui flammeam/dum solis accendis rotam,/lunae ministras ordinem,/vagosque cursus siderum.
4 Expelle noctem cordium

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