Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi – which we celebrate next Sunday – June 11, 1264, following the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena (which I will talk about next week). For this feast, St. Thomas Aquinas, the great philosopher and theologian wrote some eucharistic hymns including, some which you may have heard before including:
1) “Sing my Tongue the Savior’s Glory,” aka “Down in Adoration Falling;” Latin title, Pange Lingua (Tantum Ergo)
2) “Godhead here in hiding;” Latin title, Adoro Te Devote
3) “O Saving Victim;” Latin title, O Salutaris Hostia
4) “Holy and Living Bread;” Latin title, Panis Angelicus
5) “Laud, O Zion, Thy Salvation,” which we will recite as the Corpus Christi “Sequence” (the special hymn just before the Gospel).
There is a story about how moved people were by St. Thomas Aquinas’ hymns: In 1264, Pope Urban IV commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure to compose hymns for the newly instituted Feast of Corpus Christi.
The time came when the two saints were to present their manuscripts to the Holy Father. St. Thomas Aquinas presented his first. While reading his composition, the Holy Father and St. Bonaventure listened with tears, astounded by the beauty of Aquinas’ composition. St. Bonaventure then turned aside and tore his manuscript. He showed to the Holy Father his torn up manuscript, saying “Holy Father, listening to Fr. Thomas, it seemed as if I heard the Holy Spirit speak, for only the Holy Spirit can inspire such beautiful thoughts. It is out of place for me to compare my poor essay with such a perfect masterpiece; and this is all that remains of it!”
You may hear some of St. Thomas Aquinas’ hymns at Mass next Sunday.
Also, to commemorate this feast ourselves, we will have a special Eucharistic Procession! Sunday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. All are invited to join us as we prayerfully process with the Eucharist from St. Patrick’s in Hampton to Band Shell Park.
Following the procession and prayers we will have a supper back at St. Patrick’s Church.
All are encouraged and invited to join us!
It is a beautiful way, not only to experience the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but also to prayerfully witness to our community and consecrate our community to the Sacred Eucharistic Heart of Jesus!
Another way to enter more deeply into the Eucharistic Mystery: A reminder that every Thursday night, St. Patrick’s parish is open from 6 p.m.–8 p.m. for silent Eucharistic Adoration. This is a good way to come have some quiet prayer in the Eucharistic Presence of our Lord. Come and stay for 5 or 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour, or the full two hours – however you feel moved. But consider stopping in for some quiet prayer and a prayerful visit to our Lord!
– Fr. Kevin