From the Pastor: Corpus Christi Sequence
Last week we celebrated Corpus Christi on Thursday, the actual day of the celebration, and then on Sunday we celebrated the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi for the sake of those who could not make it on Thursday. I had mentioned on Thursday that it would behoove everyone to get a copy of the sequence (written by St. Thomas Aquinas) and read and study it. Although you will probably find a beautiful poetic translation in your missal, I want you to be able to compare it to a more literal translation, for it is very difficult to translate and keep the same meaning and doubly difficult to do so while also trying to keep a rhyme and meter in a foreign language. So here is one from Abbot Gueranger’s “The Liturgical Year”, a classic commentary on the Masses on the Church’s liturgical calendar of old. It isn’t as melodious as some other translations you might find, but it is powerful in Catholic teaching about the Eucharist!
Praise thy Saviour, O Sion! praise thy guide and shepherd, in hymns and canticles.
As much as thou hast power, so also dare; for he is above all praise, nor canst thou praise him enough.
This day there is given to us a special theme of praise -- the living and life-giving Bread,
Which, as our faith assures us, was given to the twelve brethren, as they sat at the table of the holy Supper.
Let our praise be full, let it be sweet: let our soul’s jubilee be joyous, let it be beautiful;
For we are celebrating that great day, whereon is commemorated the first institution of this Table.
In this Table of the new King, the new Pasch of the new Law puts an end to the old Passover.
Newness puts the old to flight, and so does truth the shadow; the light drives night away.
What Christ did at that Supper, that he said was to be done in remembrance of him.
Taught by his sacred institution, we consecrate this bread and wine into the Victim of salvation.
This is the dogma given to Christians -- that bread passes into Flesh, and wine into Blood.
What thou understandest not, what thou seest not, that let a generous faith confirm thee in beyond nature’s course.
Under the different species, which are signs not things, there hidden lie things of infinite worth.
The Flesh is food, the Blood is drink; yet Christ is whole under each species.
He is not cut by the receiver, nor broken, nor divided: he is taken whole.
He is received by one, he is received by a thousand; the one receives as much as all; nor is he consumed, who is received.
The good receive, the bad receive, but with the difference of life or death.
‘Tis death to the bad, ‘tis life to the good: lo! how unlike is the effect of the one like receiving.
And when the Sacrament is broken, waver not! but remember, that there is as much under each fragment, as is hid under the whole.
Of the substance that is there, there is no division; it is but the sign that is broken; and he who is the signified, is not thereby diminished, either as to state or stature.
Lo! the Bread of angels is made the food of pilgrims; verily it is the Bread of the Children, not to be cast to dogs.
It is foreshown in figures: when Isaac is slain, when the Paschal lamb is prescribed, when Manna is given to our fathers.
O good Shepherd! true Bread! Jesus! have mercy upon us: feed us, defend us: give us to see good things in the land of the living.
O thou, who knowest and canst do all things, who feedest us mortals here below, make us to be thy companions in the banquet yonder above, and they joint-heirs, and fellow-citizens with the saints!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka