30Mar The Exultet: Old, New and Latin

Easter Proclamation: Versions of the Exultet

The text is divided into four sections, simply for ease of reference.
There seems to have been a significant effort here to inject a lyricism into the 2010 translation, a little strained perhaps at times

Some comments:

Section 1: “Angel ministers” is used to translate “divina mysteria”; it does not seem to capture the richness of the Latin.

Section 2: “our forebears” avoids the non-inclusive “our fathers” of 1973, and it does capture the fuller meaning of “patres nostros”. Who uses the word “forebears” nowadays in normal parlance?
lending them to grace” is strange. If lending is involved, will the loan have to be repaid?
It translates “reddit gratiae”. Section 3 has “reddit innocéntiam”, and is translated “restores innocence”. In line with this, a more accurate rendering of “reddit gratiae” would be “restores them to grace”, and makes more sense.
“(Christ) broke the prison-bars of death” translates “destructis vinculis mortis”. I wonder why they substituted “prison bars” for “chains”, which the Latin and 1973 have.

Section 3: “dazzling is the night for me” is not a good rendering of “nox illuminatio mea”. Illumination aids sight; dazzling impedes sight. Echo of Psalm 139:12.
hallowed to the honor of your name” translates “in honorem tui nominis consecratus”. Did they think “hallowed” is better than the more obvious “consecrated”?

Section 4: “”Morning Star who never sets” does translate the bare meaning of “”Lucifer, qui nescit occasum”, but misses the poetry of the Latin “who knows no setting”.

Current translation
(544 words)
2010 translation
(674 words)
Latin (470 words)
  Section 1   
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,

that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.


Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lighting of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.)


Exsúltet iam angélica turba cælórum:exsúltent divína mystéria:

et pro tanti Regis victória tuba ínsonet salutáris.

Gáudeat et tellus tantis irradiáta fulgóribus:

et, ætérni Regis splendóre illustráta,

totíus orbis se séntiat amisísse calíginem.

Lætétur et mater Ecclésia,

tanti lúminis adornáta fulgóribus:

et magnis populórum vócibus hæc aula resúltet.

(Quaprópter astántes vos, fratres caríssimi,

ad tam miram huius sancti lúminis claritátem,

una mecum, quæso,

Dei omnipoténtis misericórdiam invocáte.

Ut, qui me non meis méritis

intra Levitárum númerum dignátus est aggregáre,

lúminis sui claritátem infúndens,

cérei huius laudem implére perfíciat).


  Section 2   
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin
to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave
you gave away your Son.


The Lord be with you.And with your spirit.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right and just.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart,
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.
Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father,
and pouring out his own dear Blood
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These then are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears,
Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
lending them to grace,
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death, and rose
victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.

O wonder of your humble care for us!

O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!


V. Dóminus vobíscum.R. Et cum spíritu tuo.)

V. Sursum corda.

R. Habémus ad Dóminum.

V. Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro.

R. Dignum et iustum est.

Vere dignum et iustum est,

invisíbilem Deum Patrem omnipoténtem

Filiúmque eius Unigénitum,

Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum,

toto cordis ac mentis afféctu et vocis ministério personáre.

Qui pro nobis ætérno Patri Adæ débitum solvit,

et véteris piáculi cautiónem pio cruóre detérsit.

Hæc sunt enim festa paschália,

in quibus verus ille Agnus occíditur,

cuius sánguine postes fidélium consecrántur.

Hæc nox est,

in qua primum patres nostros,

fílios Israel edúctos de Ægýpto,

Mare Rubrum sicco vestígio transíre fecísti.

Hæc ígitur nox est,

quæ peccatórum ténebras colúmnæ illuminatióne purgávit.

Hæc nox est,

quæ hódie per univérsum mundum in Christo credéntes,

a vítiis sǽculi et calígine peccatórum segregátos,

reddit grátiæ, sóciat sanctitáti.

Hæc nox est,

in qua, destrúctis vínculis mortis,

Christus ab ínferis victor ascéndit.

Nihil enim nobis nasci prófuit, nisi rédimi profuísset.

O mira circa nos tuæ pietátis dignátio!

O inæstimábilis diléctio caritátis:

ut servum redímeres, Fílium tradidísti!

O certe necessárium Adæ peccátum,

quod Christi morte delétum est!


  Section 3   
O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

For it is fed by the melting wax,
which the mother bee brought forth
to make this precious candle.


O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!O truly blessed night,

worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels all wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord,
and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace,
O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honor of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.


O felix culpa,quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem!

O vere beáta nox,

quæ sola méruit scire tempus et horam,

in qua Christus ab ínferis resurréxit!

Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est:

Et nox sicut dies illuminábitur:

et nox illuminátio mea in delíciis meis.

Huius ígitur sanctificátio noctis fugat scélera, culpas lavat:

et reddit innocéntiam lapsis et mæstis lætítiam.

Fugat ódia, concórdiam parat et curvat impéria.

In huius ígitur noctis grátia,

súscipe, sancte Pater, laudis huius sacrifícium vespertínum,

quod tibi in hac cérei oblatióne sollémni,

per ministrórum manus

de opéribus apum, sacrosáncta reddit Ecclésia.

Sed iam colúmnæ huius præcónia nóvimus,

quam in honórem Dei rútilans ignis accéndit.

Qui, licet sit divísus in partes,

mutuáti tamen lúminis detriménta non novit.

Alitur enim liquántibus ceris,

quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis

apis mater edúxit.

O vere beáta nox,

in qua terrénis cæléstia, humánis divína iungúntur!

Orámus ergo te, Dómine,

ut céreus iste in honórem tui nóminis consecrátus,

ad noctis huius calíginem destruéndam,

indefíciens persevéret.


  Section 4  
 Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

 Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.

May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who coming back from death’s domain
has shed his peaceful light on humanity
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.


 Et in odórem suavitátis accéptus,

supérnis lumináribus misceátur.

Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:

Ille, inquam, lúcifer, qui nescit occásum:

Christus Fílius tuus,

qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit,

et vivit et regnat in sǽcula sæculórum.


One Response

  1. L. Macari

    This is our passover feast,
    when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
    whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

    These then are the feasts of Passover,
    in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
    whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

    The new here is not even a good translation of the Latin except for the plural feasts which does not make sense when the liturgy is about the feast being celebrated

    This is the night
    that with a pillar of fire
    banished the darkness of sin.

    I assume that this is an error and the “with” should not be there.

    This is the night
    when Christ broke the prison-bars of death, and rose
    victorious from the underworld.

    Our birth would have been no gain,
    had we not been redeemed.

    Not even a school student of Latin would have translated the passages this way. What are the second two lines supposed to mean.

    It is a good job this prayer is only used once a year and it would be better to have it annunced in Latin than to use the horrible new translation.

    The old one had its issues but was poetic and beautiful. Instead of throwing it out and replacing with something hideous could the old one not been improved. It gives the sense of the Latin without being restricted to the structure of latin which is inappropriate to English.

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