In the midst of the Easter Octave, let us recall that supreme joy that possessed us the very moment we chanted again the Gloria in the Mass of the Easter Vigil. So deep the sorrow that gripped us on Good Friday, only to make sweeter that lofty joy with which we greeted the Resurrection of the Lord.
The hymn Pone luctum, sume vestem, which we first sang last Easter Sunday, aptly captures this bold shift from grief to joy (click on the image to open the file). First appearing in 1851 in Heinrich Bone’s Cantate !, as the German Halleluja lasst uns singen, the text first appears set in music, ultimately traced back to J. B. C. Schmidts, in 1891 in Joseph Hermann Mohr’s Gesangbuch Psälterlein. Unfortunately, while the German history of this hymn has been manifested to us, both the first time the hymn was sung in Latin, and the identity of the author of its Latin verses continue to elude us. Below is the popular German version.
It bears an uncanny resemblance, both in metre and intention, to that mediaeval poem written by Adam of Saint Victor, Pone luctum, Magdalena, which in itself is also an Easter hymn. Easter encourages all of us who have sorrowed over the passion and the death of the Lord upon the cross, in repentance and resolution, to rejoice in the light of His resurrection, having reconciled the world unto Himself when He died on the Cross, redoubling and recalling our joy and mirth on that gladsome Sunday when the women and the apostles discovered the tomb of the Lord empty.
Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.