Before We Leave the Crib

One of the most beautiful pieces of music is Hector Berlioz’s L’enfant du Christ, and especially L’adieu des bergers à la sainte famille  While a prayer, it also a statement of hope for the shepherds and more importantly for the Christ Child as he begins His life among his family and us.  As we dismantle the crib, the spirit of this piece is worth remembering.  I have included the words both in English and French because of their beauty.

Thou must leave thy lowly dwelling,
The humble crib, the stable bare.
Babe, all mortal babes excelling,
Content our earthly lot to share.
Loving father, Loving mother,
Shelter thee with tender care!

Blessed Jesus, we implore thee
With humble love and holy fear.
In the land that lies before thee,
Forget not us who linger here!
May the shepherd’s lowly calling,
Ever to thy heart be dear!

Blest are ye beyond all measure,
Thou happy father, mother mild!
Guard ye well your heav’nly treasure,
The Prince of Peace, The Holy Child!
God go with you, God protect you,
Guide you safely through the wild!

Il s’en va loin de la terre
Où dans l’étable il vit le jour.
De son père et de sa mère
Qu’il reste le constant amour,
Qu’il grandisse, qu’il prospère
Et qu’il soit bon père à son tour.

Oncques si, chez l’idolâtre,
Il vient à sentir le malheur,
Fuyant la terre marâtre,
Chez nous qu’il revienne au bonheur.
Que la pauvreté du pâtre
Reste toujours chère à son cœur.

Cher enfant, Dieu te bénisse!
Dieu vous bénisse, heureux époux!
Que jamais de l’injustice
Vous ne puissiez sentir les coups.
Qu’un bon ange vous avertisse
Des dangers planant sur vous.


About Monsignor Mark Richard Lane

I am a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Richmond. I am also a presenter in the Theology and Symbolism in Art from the art of the catacombs to modern art. My current research is on the duplicity of art in 19th Century America.
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