Here at St Robert’s, at the end of every weekday Mass, since Easter Sunday, we have sung the Regina Caeli. It is my favourite antiphon to Our Lady. Short but intensely sweet, it is a proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus and the joy of Mary. The Easter season ends today so here it is one more time, well a few times actually, in order to engrain it into our memory so that we can sing it with even greater gusto next year, please God.
Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
The Regina Caeli is an ancient latin hymn to Our Lady; it is one of the four seasonal Marian (Mary) antiphons recited in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) at the conclusion of the last of the hours to be prayed in common that day – Night Prayer (Compline). The Regina Caeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through to Pentecost Sunday. While the authorship of the Regina Caeli is unknown, the hymn has been traced back to the twelfth century. It is an Easter hymn that expresses the profound joy of Mary at the resurrection of her Son. The words Regina Coeli are best translated Queen in Heaven. It is an Easter title of honour and signifies that the Mother of Christ now already participates in the Easter glory of her son. Instead of the usual address for Mary, Ave (hail), the Laetare, rejoice, is used. This is an invitation to look to Mary as she lives now: the servant of the Lord on earth has become queen of heaven. In her exaltation, she has become a sign for all who are united with Christ through baptism. We too share in the Resurrected Life of Christ through our baptism and we shall reach its fulfilment in the Resurrected life of Heaven.