Rorate Caeli

In honor of the Theologian

In Charles Le Brun's masterful depiction, the stage is set for the martyrdom of another Apostle. By the Latin Gate (Porta Latina), in Rome, the Jewish fisherman John, son of Zebedee, is about to be killed in a cauldron of hot oil, for having loved too much the Word Who loved him first.

Saint John would be spared the crown of martyrdom (to show the world "what martyrs are made of", as the hymn below mentions), escaping unharmed the trial of the boiling oil. He still had a whole future Revelation to prophesy...

In honor of the most sublime Evangelist, the Theologian of the Word, the Doctor of the Real Presence, the Prophet of the Apocalypse, the loved apostle, the only of the Twelve who stood by the Cross:

A great hymn, Amore Christi Nobilis, composed for his feast by Saint Ambrose (one of the few which most experts agree as truly composed by the great Milanese Doctor), and still sung in the Ambrosian Breviary.

Amore Christi nobilis
Et filius Tonitrui,
Arcana Iohannes Dei
Fatu revelavit sacro.

Captis solebat piscibus
Patris senectam pascere;
Turbante dum natat salo,
Immobilis fide stetit.

Hamum profundo merserat,
Piscatus est Verbum Dei,
Iactavit undis retia,
Vitam levavit hominum.

Piscis bonus pia est Fides,
Mundi supernatans salum,
Subnixa Christi pectore,
Sancto locuta Spiritu:

"In principio erat Verbum,
"Et Verbum erat apud Deum,
"Et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat
"In principio apud Deum.

"Omnia per ipsum facta sunt."
Sed ipse lapse resonet;
Et laureatus Spiritu
Scriptis coronetur suis.

Commune multis passio,
Cruorque delictum lavans;
Hoc morte praestat Martyrum
Quod fecit esse Martyres.

Vinctus tamen ab impiis,
Calente olivo dicitur
Tersisse mundi pulverem,
Stetisse victor aemuli.

Gloria tibi, Domine,
Qui natus es de Virgine;
Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula.

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