One thing we always look forward to on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is singing the beautiful hymn found in the breviary for their feast day: What Fairer Light. It is Msgr. Ronald Knox’s beautiful translation of the original Latin hymn from the 5th century.
What fairer light is this than time itself doth own,
The golden day with beams more radiant brightening?
The princes of God’s Church this feast day doth enthrone,
To sinners heavenward bound their burden lightening.
One taught mankind its creed, one guards the heavenly gate,
Founders of Rome, they bind the world in loyalty;
One by the sword achieved, one by the cross his fate;
With laurelled brows they hold eternal royalty.
Rejoice O Rome, this day; thy walls they once did sign
With princely blood, who now their glory share with thee.
What city’s vesture glows with crimson deep as thine?
What beauty else has earth that may compare with thee?
To God the three in one eternal homage be,
All honor, all renown, all songs victorious,
Who rules both heaven and earth by one divine decree
To everlasting years in empire glorious