Easter Sunday, you might have noticed a pause before the priest read the Gospel. This pause was the Sequence, an ancient poem set to music. While it has been translated into English, the original is so much nicer. We can sing the Sequence for every day of the Octave of Easter. Take a little time to listen to it and to understand what each line means. With a little practice, maybe you could sing it too.
Victimae paschali laudes immolent Christiani.
This sentence has the subject at the very end, then the verb. It’s completely opposite a standard English sentence. So from Right-to-left it reads: Christians immolate praises to the paschal victim. The word Immolate is an intentionally stronger word than sacrifice, as though we are immolating our praises on the altar to celebrate the one who was immolated for us.
Agnus redemit oves: Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.
A lamb redeems the sheep: Christ the innocent one reconciles sinners to the Father.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando:
Here it gets just a little bit more complicated. Death and life have clashed in a stupendous combat (duello is combat).
dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dux is prince (we get Duke from this word). Literally The prince of life dead (deceased), reigns alive.
Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via?
Tell us Mary, what did you see along the way?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis
The tomb of Christ the living one, and I saw the glory of the Risen One.
Angelicos testes, sudarium, et vestes.
Angel witnesses, the shroud, and the garments.
Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos in Galilaeam.
Christ my hope has risen: he’s going before his own to Gailee.
Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
My favorite line here: We know that Christ has truly risen from the dead; you, victor King, have mercy on us.
Download a PDF of the Music Here