“Attende Domine” – A Hymn for Lent

This is a Lenten hymn, calling on God to have mercy on us, who have been redeemed at such a great price. This chant is very simple, something that can be sung by a congregation without organ accompaniment — convenient for a Lenten hymn. The Church does not want us to rejoice during Lent, so she silences the church organs for the duration of the holy season. (Source: Gregorian Chant Lyrics). Some parishes sang this already on Ash Wednesday, how about your parish?

This hymn can be used at any time, but Lent is by far the most popular time this chant is used.

The setting known to us all goes back to a French Missal from the 17th. century, but this hymn goes back to a Mozarabic Litany from the 10th century.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.
Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Ad te Rex summe,
omnium Redemptor,
oculos nostros
sublevamus flentes:
exaudi, Christe,
supplicantum preces.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Dextera Patris,
lapis angularis,
via salutis,
ianua caelestis,
ablue nostri
maculas delicti.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Rogamus, Deus,
tuam maiestatem:
auribus sacris
gemitus exaudi:
crimina nostra
placidus indulge.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Tibi fatemur
crimina admissa:
contrito corde
pandimus occulta:
tua, Redemptor,
pietas ignoscat.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

English Translation:
Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.
Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

To Thee, highest King,
Redeemer of all,
do we lift up our eyes
in weeping:
Hear, O Christ, the prayers
of your servants.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

Right hand of the Father,
corner-stone,
way of salvation,
gate of heaven,
wash away our
stains of sin.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

We beseech Thee, God,
in Thy great majesty:
Hear our groans
with Thy holy ears:
calmly forgive
our crimes.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

To Thee we confess
our sins admitted
with a contrite heart
We reveal the things hidden:
By Thy kindness, O Redeemer,
overlook them.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

The Innocent, seized,
not refusing to be led;
condemned by false witnesses
because of impious men
O Christ, keep safe those
whom Thou hast redeemed.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.
(Text and Translation also from Gregorian Chant Lyrics)

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3 Responses to “Attende Domine” – A Hymn for Lent

  1. Gertrude says:

    I absolutely adore this chant, and yes, we did sing it in our parish on Ash Wednesday, but I do not know if this is widespread, as our parish is part of a Monastic foundation and the video above is just as it was.
    The liturgy of Passiontide leading up to Easter is some of the most beautiful liturgy of Holy Church. Thank you for bringing this very traditional chant to the fore.

  2. kathleen says:

    Gertrude and Teresa, you are lucky; we didn’t have the ‘Attende Domine’ at our Ash Wednesday Mass (or any other day). The Mass was celebrated with devotion though, and the church was packed……. good signs. Now thanks to you Teresa I can listen and meditate on this beautiful hymn from home :-).

  3. Augustine OFORI-PRAH says:

    There is no salvation for the dead, but not those who had their whole lives dedicated to the work of the MOST HIGH GOD through various ways, including edifying songs. May the HOLY SPIRIT OF THE ONE GOD LEAD THE SOULS OF ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE AHEAD OF US TO THE LORD OF HOST, THE SUPREME RULER OF THE UNIVERS. “Attende Domine” is a true penitential song. Blessed be the soul of the man who composed and arranged it, and the souls of all those who translated it from its original language to the various languages.

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