Our Morning Offering – 14 February – The Memorial of St Valentine (176-273) Bishop and Martyr
Deus Tuorum Militum
O God, of Those Who Fought Thy Fight
O God, of those Who fought Thy fight,
Portion and Prize and crown of Light,
Break every bond of sin and shame,
As now we praise Thy Martyr’s name.
He recked not of the world’s allure,
But sin and pomp of sin forswore;
Knew all their gall and passed them by
And reached the throne prepared on high.
Bravely the course of pain he ran
And bore his torments as a man:
For love of Thee, his blood outpoured
And thus obtained the great reward.
With humble voice and suppliant word
We pray Thee, therefore, holy Lord,
While we Thy Martyr’s Feast-day keep,
Forgive Thy loved and erring sheep.
Glory and praise for aye be done
To God the Father and the Son,
And Holy Ghost, Who reign on high,
One God, to all eternity.
An Ambrosian hymn historically assigned for Matins and Vespers for the Common Feast of a Martyr in the Roman Breviary. It dates probably from the sixth century and is attributed to the Unknown Author of Rex Gloriose Martyrum and Jesu, Redemptor Omnium. The hymn exists in a longer version of eight strophes and a shorter one of four, which is probably earlier.
The Vatican antiphonary provided two different melodies for use in the Paschal season and during the Octave of the Nativity, during which the Feast of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr occurs.
The hymn is a prayer of the Catholic assembly, asking God to forgive the sins of His servants, on the day of the martyr’s triumph over the pleasures of the world and the torture of persecution.