Iam surgit hora tertia
Now dawns the third hour of the day,
the hour when Christ mounted the cros;
let our minds harbor no proud thought,
but foster eagerness for prayer.
He who takes Christ into his heart
controls his thoughts all free of blame;
by constant prayers deserves to win
the Holy Spirit’s presence there.
This is the hour that brought an end
to that long-standing grievous sin,
demolished then the realm of death,
and rid the world of ancient guilt.
From that time on our blessed days
began, through merit of Christ’s grace;
through all the world the truth of faith
has filled the churches everywhere.
He on high from his triumph’s peak
addressed his mother with these words:
“O mother, here behold your son”;
to John: “Behold your mother here,”
Thus teaching that her bridal pact
concealed this mystery profound:
the virgin’s sacred birth would not
impair the mother’s chastity.
Jesus, by heavenly miracles,
provided proof that this was so.
The impious mob withheld belief;
he who belived will sure be saved.
We do believe the birth of God,
sprung from the sacred virgin’s womb;
he bore the sins of all the world,
and now sits at his Father’s right.
-St Ambrose of Milan (d. 397), trans. P G Walsh with Christopher Husch, One Hundred Latin Hymns, pp. 9-11