There are some great hymns for Lent, and it can only benefit our Lenten season to reflect on and learn a little more about some of the really good ones.
It is fitting to start with a hymn that tells of God’s mercy to sinners. The words of the song were written by a Redemptorist priest named Edmund Vaughan who was born in 1827. He was one of the clergy at Our Lady of the Anunciation near Liverpool. He wrote a handful of other hymns, though none are as well known as “God of Mercy and Compassion.”
The music to “God of Mercy and Compassion” is a traditional French melody by 18th century Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, who was born in 1710. Pergolesi lived only until 1736. He was a well-known composer of both opera music and sacred music.
“God of Mercy and Compassion” is one of the most moving (yet unknown) hymns of the season of Lent.
Lyrics to ‘God of Mercy and Compassion’
God of mercy and compassion,
Look with pity upon me,
Father, let me call Thee Father,
‘Tis Thy child returns to Thee.
Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins, I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.
2. By my sins I have deserved
Death and endless misery,
Hell with all its pains and torments,
And for all eternity.
3. By my sins I have abandoned
Right and claim to heav’n above.
Where the saints rejoice forever
In a boundless sea of love.
4. See our Savior, bleeding, dying,
On the cross of Calvary;
To that cross my sins have nail’d Him,
Yet He bleeds and dies for me.