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O magnum mysterium
Morten Lauridsen Lyrics

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O magnum mysterium,
Et admirabile sacramentum,
Ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
Jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
Meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.

Overall Meaning

The Latin text of Morten Lauridsen's song "O Magnum Mysterium" translates to "O great mystery and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger! Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear the Lord, Jesus Christ. Alleluia." The lyrics are centered around the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and the profound impact it had on the world. The first lines evoke a sense of wonder and awe at the mystery of Christ's birth and the unlikely place where he was first seen by the world - a humble manger. The mention of animals seeing the Lord adds to the sense of surprise and divine intervention.

The second part of the lyrics focuses on the Virgin Mary, who is praised for being the vessel that bore the Son of God. The song ends with an exultant "Alleluia," which serves as a joyful celebration of the miracle of Christ's birth and the hope it brings.

Line by Line Meaning

O magnum mysterium,
Oh great mystery,

Et admirabile sacramentum,
And admirable sacrament,

Ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
That animals would see the newborn Lord,

Jacentem in praesepio!
Lying in a manger!

Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
Blessed Virgin, whose womb

Meruerunt portare
Was worthy to bear

Dominum Christum.
The Lord Christ.


Contributed by Maya I. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

Robert Lee, Countertenor

Some of those harmonies are so gorgeous it sends me to a totally different place emotionally than I ever find elsewhere, truly. Inexplicable. It's not nostalgic or sad or happy or joyful, it's kind of everything at once.

Bob Powers

The power of music to transport us.


I'm not a Christian, but this is godly.

Bouvia Music

Fr! Most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard or experienced in my life


@Elizabeth Terlinden I'm in agreement with you.

Jorge A. Batoca B.

Music, specially this Music, is a gift from Almighty God, in this particular piece, the text expresses the Mystery of The Incarnation in The Virgin Mary by the power of The Holy Spirit of The Only Begotten Son of God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, may God The Father give you all to Him, so you all can also be saved, love and obey Him, hence, after this short life on this earth, have Eternal Life and live in His Glory forever, Amen <3

Romin N

^ One does not need to be of any religion to appreciate music that comes to us from the divine otherworldly.

Elizabeth Terlinden

Sacred music is one of the few aspects of the Christian tradition I've retained unalloyed respect for now that I'm an atheist.


In December, 2002, our family sat in the front row and listened as the LA Master Chorale performed this work flawlessly. We were there with our Gramma, whose life passion was choral music...and who had terminal cancer. We knew it was our last Christmas season with her. This piece -- reduced us all to sobbing messes. Two months later, we played it at her memorial. Fifteen years on, I still ugly-cry whenever I hear this. .......Miss you, Gramma.

Joseph Bornbach

Well...I have an update. I just buried my father today so this Christmas will be the first without both parents.

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