Catholic Hymn You Should Know: Ave Regina Caelorum

Mackenzie Worthing

Catholic Hymn You Should Know: Ave Regina Caelorum

The traditional Marian antiphon that is sung from the last day of the Christmas season to the middle of Holy Week is the Ave Regina Caelorum. This beautiful antiphon hails Our Lady by many names - the Queen of the Heavens, the Lady of the Angels, the root, and the gate. She is greeted with joy and solemnity and asked to fly unto Christ on our behalf. It is not absolutely known who the composer of this antiphon is but it is suspected that the medieval monk Herman Contractus, who is credited with writing the "Salve Regina" and the "Alma Redemptoris Mater." The text follows belows in Latin and then in English: 

Ave Regina coelorum,
Ave Domina Angelorum:
Salve radix, salve porta,
Ex qua mundo lux est orta;
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa:
Vale, O valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

V. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata.
R. Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.

Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostrae praesidium: ut, qui sanctae Dei Genetricis memoriam agimus, intercessionis ejus auxilio, a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Hail, Queen of the Heavens!
Hail, Lady of the Angels!
Hail root and hail gate,
Through which the Light has risen upon the world!
Rejoice, O Glorious Virgin,
Loveliness surpassing all!
Hail, O hail Beautiful One!
And pray to Christ for us.

V. Vouchsafe, O Holy Virgin, that I may praise thee.
R. Give me power against thine enemies.

Grant, O merciful God, thy protection to us in our weakness; that we who celebrate the memory of the Holy Mother of God, may, through the aid of her intercession, rise again from our sins. Through the same  Christ our Lord. Amen.

I find the call for Our Lady to rejoice during this penitential season of Lent comforting. She is in Heaven with Our Lord. She knows that the war has been won. She is in the splendor of the heavens, she, the crown of God's creation is lovelier and more beautiful than anything else the Lord has brought into being. And we have recourse to her! The versicle and response has stood out to my husband and I lately: we beg our Lady to allow us to address her and ask that she might give us power against her enemies. What a wondrous ask! And in the collect we ask God that we might "rise again from our sins" through her aid, especially during this time of purgation in the desert that is Lent. May you turn to Our Lady with this beautiful antiphon every night before bed and feel strengthened by the knowledge that the Queen of Heaven hears our petitions and takes them to Christ Our Lord.