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Corpus Christi

The Thursday after Trinity Sunday – Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion.

Thomas Aquinas, a thirteenth century theologian devised a service to mark Corpus Christi which included a number of hymns, the most well-known of which is Sacris Solemnis’ (At this our solemn feast) which includes the well known ‘panis angelicus’. An English translation of the sixth stanza encapsulates the meaning of this feast day.

 

‘Thus Angels’ Bread is made
 the Bread of humankind today:
the Living Bread from heaven
 with imaginings does away:
O wondrous gift indeed!
 the poor and lowly may
upon their Lord and Master feed’.
(Aquinas’s English translation)

Similar sentiments were expressed by St Francis of Assisi in his Letter to the Entire Order:

Let everyone be struck with fear,
let the whole world tremble,
and let the heavens exult when Christ,
the Son of the living God,
 is present on the altar in the hands of a priest!
O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity!
 O sublime humility! O humble sublimity!
The Lord of the universe,
God and the Son of God,
so humbles himself
that for our salvation
 he hides himself under
an ordinary piece of bread!”
 

 

These words of St Francis have been set to music in a song entitled ‘let the whole world tremble’, from the album ‘We Adore You’ by Briege O’ Hare. To listen click here
Copyright: Hermitage Productions (used with permission)

 

Lamb of God: Icon by Sr Theresa Margaret CHN(used with permission)