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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Preparing for Sunday - Corpus Christi

Sunday is the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It has a beautiful sequence called "Lauda Sion", a hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas.

I think I once explained in this blog that a sequence, from the Latin sequor, "to follow" originally referred to a hymn that followed the gospel acclamation, prolonging the gospel procession. These poems were always sung as hymns, never recited. Only two feasts have obligatory sequences now: Easter and Pentecost. Today's feast and that of Our Lady of Sorrows still have an optional sequence. Two other well-known sequences, "Dies Irae" and "Te Deum" are no longer assigned to specific feasts.

Here is the sequence for Sunday, the "Lauda Sion""
Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud, with hymns of exultation,
Christ, your king and shepherd true:

Bring him all the praise you know;
He is more than you bestow,
Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving
In the quick'ning and the living
Bread today before you set:

From his hands of old partaken,
As we know by faith unshaken,
Where the Twelve at supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
From your heart let praises burst:

For today the feast is holden,
When the institution olden
Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here's the new law's new oblation
By the new king's revelation,
Ends the form of ancient rite:

Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne'er to cease:

And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
Thus our sacrifice of peace.

This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
To his precious blood the wine:

Sight has fail'd, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
Resting on a pow'r divine.

As this sequence is longer than I thought, I will continue tomorrow with the last 12 verses. Usually, I think, only the shorter form is used and it is only the last four verses, but I think the hymn is worth praying over as a great way to prepare this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Below is a website that will tell you all about St. Philippine Duchesne:

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