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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Song: Lauda Sion by Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas wrote the Lauda Sion, the song used in the sequence to the Mass preceding the Gospel proclamation. His words in this hymn show deep reverence for the gift of the Blessed Sacrament as a life-nourishing presence in our liturgical world.

Click on the link to hear the Sequence.

Lauda Sion

Sion, lift thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Saviour and thy King;
Praise with hymns thy Shepherd true.

Strive thy best to praise him well,
Yet doth he all praise excel;
None can ever reach his due.

See today before us laid
The living and life-giving Bread,
Theme for praise and joy profound.

The same which at the sacred board
Was by our incarnate Lord.
Giv’n to his apostles round

Let the praise be loud and high;
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt today in every breast;

On this festival divine.
Which records the origin of the glorious Eucharist.
On this table of the King

Our new paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite.
Here, for empty shadows fled.

Is reality instead:
Here, instead of darkness, light.
His own act, at supper seated,

Christ ordained to be repeated,
In his memory divine;
Wherefore now, with adoration,

We the Host of our salvation
Consecrate from bread and wine.
Hear what holy Church maintaineth,

That the bread its substance changeth
Into flesh, the wine to blood.
Doth it pass thy comprehending?

Faith, the law of sight transcending,
Leaps to things not understood.
Flesh from bread, and blood from wine,

Yet is Christ in either sign
All entire, confessed to be.
They too of him partake,

Sever not, nor rend, nor break,
But entire their Lord receive.
Whether one or thousands eat,

All receive the selfsame meat,
Nor the less for others leave.
Both the wicked and the good

Eat of this celestial food;
But with ends how opposite!
Here ’tis life, and there ’tis death,

The same, yet issuing to each,
In a difference infinite.
Nor a single doubt retain,

When they break the host in twain,
But that in each part remain,
What was in the whole before.

Since the simple sign alone
Suffers change in state or form,
The signified remaining one

And the same for evermore.
Lo! upon the altar lies,
Hidden deep from human eyes,

Bread of angels from the skies,
Made the food of mortal man:
Children’s meat, to dogs denied:

In old types foresignified:
In the manna heav’n-supplied,
Isaac, and the paschal Lamb. Jesu!

Shepherd of the sheep!
Thou thy flock in safety keep.
Living Bread! thy life supply;

Strength us, or else we die;
Fill us with celestial grace;
Thou, who feedest us below!

Source of all we have or know!
Grant that with thy saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love,
We may see thee face to face. Amen.

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