Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Full and clear ring out thy chanting"

Lex orandi, lex credendi (as we pray, so we believe). When our language --and poetry and song--are  dumbed down, so is our faith. (Thanks, Carey Haugenhaaschutte.) I came upon the following hymn by way of Morning Prayer (Divine Office.org). I like listening to/praying with the podcast sometimes, and thus have I discovered no end of sublimely beautiful hymns (which, I shamefully admit, I sometimes skip when reading the Office). This hymn is by St. Thomas Aquinas, and I invite you to take the time not only to read it, but meditate upon it. Not only is it exquisite poetry, but it is also a profound catechesis on the Eucharist. (You know, just like Thank You, God, For Giving Us Us--not.) The podcast's sung version, by the Choir of Christ's College, is done in chant and well worth a listen.  It's not a tune you'd whistle around the campfire; it's meant to usher your soul into the presence of the Almighty. Mission accomplished, and that's not bad for a Tuesday morning. Enjoy.

Laud, O Sion thy salvation

Laud, O Sion thy salvation, laud with hymns of exultation, Christ thy king and shepherd true. 
Spend thyself, his honour raising, who surpasseth all thy praising; never canst thou reach his due.

Sing to-day, the mystery showing of the living, life-bestowing Bread from heaven before thee set
Even the same of old provided, where the Twelve, divinely guided, at the holy table met.

Full and clear ring out thy chanting, joy not sweetest grace be wanting to thy heart and soul to-day.
When we gather up the measure of that supper and its treasure, keeping feast in glad array.

Lo, the new king’s table gracing, this new Passover of blessing hath fulfilled the elder rite. 
Now the new the old effaceth, truth revealed the shadow chaseth, day is breaking on the night.

What he did at Supper seated, Christ ordained to be repeated, his memorial ne’er to cease. 
And, his word for guidance taking, bread and wine we hallow, making thus our Sacrifice of peace.

This the truth to Christians given; bread becomes his flesh from heaven, wine becomes his holy Blood. Doth it pass thy comprehending? Yet by faith, thy sight transcending, wondrous things are understood.

Yea, beneath these signs are hidden glorious things to sight forbidden; look not on the outward sign.
Wine is food and bread is broken; but in either sacred token Christ is here by power divine.

Whoso of this food partaketh, Christ divideth not nor breaketh; He is whole to all that taste. 
Wherefore upon this day receiveth, for the thousands will believeth, one’s real food that cannot waste.

Good and evil men are sharing one repast, a death preparing varied as the heart of men; 
Yet fore death shall be awarded, as their days shall be recorded which from their beginning ran.

When the sacrament is broken, doubt not in each severed token, hallowed by the word once spoken, resteth all the true content; 
Nought the precious gift divideth, breaking but the sign betideth, he himself the same abideth, nothing of his fullness spent.

Lo! the Angels’ food is given to the pilgrim who hath striven; see the children’s bread from heaven, which to dogs may not be cast; 
Truth the ancient types fulfilling, Isaac bound, a victim willing, paschal lamb, its life-blood spilling, manna sent in ages past.

O to Bread, good Shepherd, tend us, Jesu, of thy love befriend us, thou refresh us, thou defend us, thine eternal goodness send us in the land of life to see;
Thou who all things canst and knowest, who on earth such food bestowest, grant us with thy Saints, though lowest, where the heavenly feast thou showest, fellow-heirs and guests to be. 

Amen. Alleluia.

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