PANGE LINGUA GLORIOSI

If you know what that means, it means you are a Catholic with some tread worn off. When I was a boy, I thought that Latin prayers were so cool.  Sure, I didn’t know what they meant, but I quickly picked up the meaning and thus learned some Latin to boot.

Here is a Lectio Divina (Phil 2:5) session I had when contemplating before the Blessed Sacrament.  These two URLs contain a plethora (you don’t see that word very often) of all the hymns in Latin. I attach it for your knowledge, This is an exerpt from the book I have almost completed entitled, The Poetry of Silence: A Lay Cistercian reflects on the Mystery of Faith before the Blessed Sacrament.

www.preces-latinae.org/index.htm   www.preces-latinae.org/preces.html

“Written by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, this hymn is considered the most beautiful of Aquinas’ hymns and one of the great seven hymns of the Church. The rhythm of the Pange Lingua is said to have come down from a marching song of Caesar’s Legions: “Ecce, Caesar nunc triumphat qui subegit Gallias.” Besides the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, this hymn is also used on Holy Thursday. The last two stanzas make up the Tantum Ergo (Down in Adoration Falling) that is used at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.”

 

PANGE, lingua, gloriosi

Corporis mysterium,

Sanguinisque pretiosi,

quem in mundi pretium

fructus ventris generosi

Rex effudit Gentium. 

 

SING, my tongue, the Savior’s glory,

of His flesh the mystery sing;

of the Blood, all price exceeding,

shed by our immortal King,

destined, for the world’s redemption,

from a noble womb to spring.

 

Nobis datus, nobis natus

ex intacta Virgine,

et in mundo conversatus,

sparso verbi semine,

sui moras incolatus

miro clausit ordine. 

 

Of a pure and spotless Virgin

born for us on earth below,

He, as Man, with man conversing,

stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;

then He closed in solemn order

wondrously His life of woe.

 

In supremae nocte cenae

recumbens cum fratribus

observata lege plene

cibis in legalibus,

cibum turbae duodenae

se dat suis manibus.   

 

On the night of that Last Supper,

seated with His chosen band,

He the Pascal victim eating,

first fulfills the Law’s command;

then as Food to His Apostles

gives Himself with His own hand.

 

Verbum caro, panem verum

verbo carnem efficit:

fitque sanguis Christi merum,

et si sensus deficit,

ad firmandum cor sincerum

sola fides sufficit.      

 

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature

by His word to Flesh He turns;

wine into His Blood He changes;-

what though sense no change discerns?

Only be the heart in earnest,

faith her lesson quickly learns.

 

Tantum ergo Sacramentum

veneremur cernui:

et antiquum documentum

novo cedat ritui:

praestet fides supplementum

sensuum defectui.      

 

Down in adoration falling,

Lo! the sacred Host we hail;

Lo! o’er ancient forms departing,

newer rites of grace prevail;

faith for all defects supplying,

where the feeble sense fail.

 

Genitori, Genitoque

laus et iubilatio,

salus, honor, virtus quoque

sit et benedictio:

procedenti ab utroque

compar sit laudatio.

Amen. Alleluia.

 

To the everlasting Father,

and the Son who reigns on high,

with the Holy Ghost proceeding

forth from Each eternally,

be salvation, honor, blessing,

might and endless majesty.

Amen. Alleluia.

 

Listen to the hymn by clicking on this URL.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmW5pD9Qdvc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raeihsMkVm4

 MY REFLECTIONS

I offer this hymn as part of my reflections on the Mystery of Faith because of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P.  He wrote this to glorify Christ as present in the Blessed Sacrament. Christ’s Real Presence, at the core of what it means to be a Catholic Universal member of the Body of Christ, at the center of the Mystery of Faith, the ultimate sign of the Resurrection of Christ and His presence in each age, and the fulfillment of his promise that I will be with you until the end of time.

Our Faith in the Blessed Sacrament does not make it real. All the believers from Old Testament, New Testament and the Church Universal up to you, reading this paragraph, can’t make Christ present under the appearance of bread and wine. It takes Christ as both God and human to fulfill his promise that if we eat his flesh and drink his blood we have life in us and we shall be with Him Forever.

St, Thomas Aquinas states it thus:

 “Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature

by His word to Flesh He turns;

wine into His Blood He changes;-

what though sense no change discerns?

Only be the heart in earnest,

faith her lesson quickly learns.”

The Word made flesh turned bread by His Word to flesh. This is a test of Faith that is at the core of what it means to be Catholic. If you can’t see Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, if you don’t see Christ as just as real as when he walked on the earth to change water into wine, you are in one of two levels of Catholics. There are those who believe in the Real Presence of Christ and then there are those who do not.

“Without Faith Lo! the sacred Host we hail;

Lo! o’er ancient forms departing,

newer rites of grace prevail;

faith for all defects supplying,

where the feeble sense fail.”

How eloquent this hymn telling of our redemption and hope for each of us that Christ has not forgotten us in each age. When I pray before the Blessed Sacrament, it is adoration, it is petition for an increase in humility and obedience to God’s will, it is praise to the Father that he loved us so much as He is still with us today, never abandoned, never forgotten, always present to us. The Church is the custodian of the Blessed Sacrament, not the just the clergy. The clergy are those who serve on earth making the Word made flesh present through the words and authority that Christ gave them through Holy Orders. Vessels of clay each of them, broken-down old temple of the Holy Spirit that I am, and sinners all of us, it is part of the Mystery of Faith that God would entrust such sublime responsibility to the angels much less to humans. But, that he what he did. The sign of contradiction is that He who knew no sin entrusted Himself to sinful humans.

As a Lay Cistercian in daily need of transformation to Christ, I use Cistercian practices such as prayer to put me in the presence of Christ. Kneeling in adoration (more likely sitting for me, since I turned 78), before the Blessed Sacrament, I just place myself there and wait. Sometimes I wait for a long while, but it is the waiting that sharpens anticipation at what happens. And what happens is transformation. I cannot be in the presence, the Real Presence of Christ without moving from self to God.

Yesterday, September 22, 2018, I went out to eat with my wife, Young, and some of our dear friends. While at Outback, the occasion was to remember my friend, Deacon Marcus Hepburn, PhD, who had died a few years earlier.  I had this thought that this was a wonderful occasion to remember Marcus and all he did for the Church. I also thought of the Mystery of Faith, between servings of Outback bread and waiting for my entre.  My thoughts went  to Christ’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and how blessed we are to have really and truly present with us just as he was when he walked with the Apostles and disciples. Marcus we think about. Christ is not a mental construct of what we think he is, he is actually there, body and blood, soul and divinity. Now that is something to die for, and maybe more importantly, to live for, since living with Christ in our hearts lasts Forever.

To the everlasting Father,

and the Son who reigns on high,

with the Holy Ghost proceeding

forth from Each eternally,

be salvation, honor, blessing,

might and endless majesty.

Amen. Alleluia.

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