Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rants and Trivia: Solemnity of Corpus Christi

(Thanks to A Catholic Life Blog for the photo above)

I was watching TV this morning flipping through the channels when I chanced upon Studio 23.  The Family Rosary Crusade of the Servant of God, Father Patrick Peyton, CSC was on.  The last part of the 1 hour program is a reflection of the Sunday Gospel.  This is probably my favorite part of the program.  I listened to the reflection of the Sunday Gospel given by Fr. Arlo Sison, SVD of the Christ the King Mission Seminary.  I was wondering why he was wearing a red stole over the common plain white chasuble.  Well, of course, most Filipino priests think that an overlay stole is the standard liturgical norm.  If they only read the General Instructions of the Roman Missal…  Well, do priests read them?  Maybe a few.

Going back… He developed his reflection upon the readings.  The first reading was about the high priest Melchizedek giving offering bread and wine and giving thanks.  The second reading was a letter from Paul reminding Christians that Christ took bread, said the blessing, gave thanks, broke it and shared it.  The Gospel is about the multiplication of the loaves and fishes where Christ said the blessing over the bread and gave thanks.  According to Fr. Sison, the message of Corpus Christi is…hold on to your seats…giving thanks.  Because for him, the readings remind us that the Eucharist, by the etymology of the word, is in itself an act of thanksgiving.  We are reminded of the fact that Christ gave thanks whenever he offers bread and wine.  So we must never forget to give thanks.

I believe this.  Most often, people forget to give thanks for whatever they have.  In fact it is this ingratitude to the Creator that led our first parents to even look for more than what they already had, and so was easily tempted by the Serpent.


Is this all there is to it?  Is this the real treasure behind the feast of Corpus Christi?  Why does Holy Mother Church require that a solemn Eucharistic Procession be held every Feast of Corpus Christi?

Now here’s the trivia.

The Feast of Corpus Christi started in 1263 when Pope Urban IV (after confirming the  Eucharistic miracle at Bolsena, in which a consecrated host began to bleed.   This happened after the a priest doubted the Real Presence.  He had not yet said the words of consecration when the host began to bleed.  The host left blood spots on the altar and on the corporal.  Today, the corporal is preserved in the city of Bolsena (pictured below).  For more about this Eucharistic miracle, click here.

In 1264 he issued the papal bull Transiturus de hoc mundo in which Corpus Christi was made a feast throughout the entire Latin Rite. This was the very first papally sanctioned universal feast in the history of the Latin Rite.

A new liturgy for the feast was composed by St. Thomas Aquinas, upon orders of the pope, along with it the beautiful hymn, Pange Lingua.  The last two verse of the hymn itself became a famous hymn; Tantum Ergo.  O Salutaris Hostia, another hymn sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, comprises the last two verses of Verbum Supernum Prodiens, Aquinas' hymn for Lauds of Corpus Christi. Aquinas also composed the propers for the Mass of Corpus Christi, including the sequence Lauda Sion Salvatorem" Did your priest talk about this “little” trivia?

Or just like Fr. Sison, most priests would like to talk about the Woodstock era values of Love, Peace, Brotherhood and Friendship.  Not bad, though...BUT we are still missing the real point of the celebration. Back to Basics! We keep on ignoring the real reason for this season! Holy Mother Church reminds us all of the Real Presence, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.


On another note, let us compare and contrast the translations of Tantum Ergo.
Here is the original in Latin as written by the Angelic Doctor.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

Now here is the literal translation in English

Therefore so great a Sacrament
Let us venerate with bowed heads
And as the ancient dispensation
gives way to the newer rites:
Let Faith supply a help
to the defect of the senses.

To the One Who Begets and the One who is begotten
Be praise and jubilation,
Salvation, honor, strength also
And may there be blessing
(and) to the One proceeding from them both
may there be equal praise. Amen.

If that is not deliberate disregard for the beautiful theology behind the lyrics, tell me what it is and make me believe that it is so!

Did the Redemptorist translation say anything about the Real Presence?  Do you smell Modernism around the corner

Plain hatred of Latin? Or silent apostasy? Or simple case of misinformation?

1 comment:

  1. Here is an interesting entry on Corpus Christi, its history and spiritual meaning offering a broad perspective on various traditions and forms of piety. Certainly worth checking out: