The Nativity

Author: Iacoponus


(Thirteenth Century)

(Attributed to Iacoponus, the author of Stabat Mater Dolorosa)

Full of beauty stood the Mother By the manger blest o'er other, Where the Little One she lays; For her inmost soul's elation, In its fervid jubilation, Thrills with ecstasy of praise.

O what glad, what rapturous feeling Filled that blessed Mother, kneeling By the Sole-Begotten One! How, her heart with laughter bounding, She beheld the work astounding, Saw his birth, the glorious Son.

Who is he, that sight who beareth, Nor Christ's Mother's solace shareth In her bosom as he lay: Who is he, that would not render Tend'rest love for love so tender, Love, with that dear Babe at play?

For the trespass of her nation She with oxen saw his station Subjected to cold and woe: Saw her sweetest Offspring's wailing, Wise men him with worship hailing, In the stable, mean and low.

Jesus lying in the manger, Heavenly armies sang the Stranger, In the great joy bearing part; Stood the Old Man with the Maiden, No words speaking, only laden With this wonder in their heart.

Mother, fount of love still flowing, Let me, with thy rapture glowing, Learn to sympathize with thee. Let me raise my heart's devotion, Up to Christ with pure emotion, That accepted I may be.

Mother, let me win this blessing, Let his sorrow's deep impressing In my heart engraved remain; Since thy Son, from heaven descending, Deigned to bear the manger's lending, O divide with me this pain.

Keep my heart its gladness bringing, To my Jesus ever clinging, Long as this my life shall last; Love like that shine own love, give it, On my little Child to rivet, Till this exile shall be past. Let me share shine own affliction, Let me suffer no rejection Of my purpose fixed and fast.

Virgin, peerless of condition, Be not wroth with my petition. Let me clasp thy little Son: Let me bear that Child so glorious, Him, whose birth, o'er death victorious, Will'd that life for man was won.

Let me, satiate with my pleasure, Feel the rapture of thy treasure Leaping for that joy intense;

That, inflam'd by such communion, Through the marvel of that union, I may thrill in every sense

All that love this stable truly, And the shepherds watching duly, Tarry there the livelong night; Pray that by thy Son's dear merit, His elected may inherit Their own country's endless light.

Translated by Dr. Neale

Copyright (c) 1996 Catholic Information Network (CIN) - November 24, 1996