Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lauda Sion Salvatorem

Allegory of the Eucharist, Alexander Coosemans

Below, you will find the sequence for Pentecost written by St. Thomas Aquinas for the feast. We heard it chanted at Mass today at the Church of St. Martin of Tours in Louisville, KY. This translation was in the bulletin. I can't find it anywhere, so I'm thinking it might have been translated by someone at the church.

You might want to read it when you have time to do so prayerfully and quietly. Not only is it a beautiful and inspiring prayer, it is the most astounding piece of catechesis I have ever read. Everything one needs to know about the Eucharist is explained here. Sadly, many churches do not read the sequence for Corpus Christi, or any of the sequences. What a tragedy at a time when so many Catholics do not understand what the Church teaches about the "source and summit of our faith." Sometimes there will be a hymn based on the sequence, but frequently it is very abbreviated and poorly worded.

UPDATE: I want to add what my friend Steve said about the experience of hearing the sequence chanted at Mass yesterday. "The Sequence sounded as if sung by angels. If they recorded it and played it back during lights out in prisons every night, even the most hardened lives could not help but be affected and changed."

O Zion, praise thy Savior thy Prince and thy Shepherd;
praise him with hymns and canticles.
Make bold to praise him with all strength; for he surpasseth all praise; 
thou shalt ne'er be fully equal to the task.
A special theme of praise, the living and life-giving bread, is on this day proposed.
Let our praise ring out full and resonant, 
a song of the heart, joyful and radiant.
For today is a most solemn festival,
recalling how this sacred banquet first was instituted.
At this banquet of our newly crowned King, 
the Paschal mystery of the New Law bringeth to its end the ancient Passover rite.
Novelty replaceth that which is old,
reality chaseth away the shadows, radiance doth eliminate the night.
That which Christ accomplished at this supper he ordered to be done again, in memory of him.
Taught by his divine precepts, 
we consecrate the bread and wine, a sacrificial victim for salvation.
This sacred doctrine do Christians receive:
the bread into his body and the wine into his blood is changed.
What thou can neither grasp nor perceive is affirmed by ardent faith, 
beyond the natural order of things.
Beneath these double appearances--mere signs, and not the realities themselves--
is hidden the most sublime of mysteries.
His body is food, his blood, a beverage but Christ remains present under each.
His flesh, when eaten, is not torn apart, broken asunder or divided;
intact he is received.
Though one alone be fed, though thousands be fed,
all receive the same reality, 
which perisheth not at meal's end.
The good and the guilty may all have part therein,
but with different results: life or death.
Death for sinners, life everlasting for the just;
mark well the varied effects of this single food.
And when the bread is fragmented, be thou not troubled,
but remember:
he is present in each fragment just as much as in the whole.
The hidden reality is not divided, the sign only is fragmented;
He whose presence is signified,
suffereth no diminution in stature or in strength.
which hath become food for us on our pilgrimage;
it is truly the bread of God's children, let it ne'er be thrown to dogs.
Scripture announced it figuratively by Isaac's sacrifice,
by the paschal lamb and by the manna given to our forefathers.
O Good Shepherd and most true bread of life,
Lord Jesus, have mercy on us; 
feed us and protect us,
bring us to the vision of eternal riches in the land of the living.
Thou who knowest and canst accomplish all things, who dost feed us in this mortal life,
make us thy chosen guests, the co-heirs and companions of the saints in the heavenly city.

Amen. Alleluia.

You can listen to the sequence in Latin below.

St. Martin of Tours Church, Louisville, KY


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