Monday, June 12, 2006


On Thursday, June 15th the ancient liturgy celebrated the magnificent feast of Corpus Christi. This feast serves as a liturgical reminder that the Presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is “Real” and not merely symbolic. Also, the Church reminds us that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Himself that Our Lord offered up to the Heavenly Father on the Cross of Calvary.

The Sequence of today’s Mass is the Lauda Sion, by St. Thomas Aquinas. It is a masterpiece of Eucharistic doctrine and devotion. I will present to you a series of articles on this sequence to commemorate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

Pope John XXIII, in his Encyclical Mater et Magistra, teaches us that the Church as Mother and Teacher. "The Church is the Mother and Teacher of all nations. She was such in the mind of her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Church holds the world in an embrace of love. Men in every age should find in her their ultimate completeness in a higher order of living and their ultimate salvation. She is the `pillar and the bulwark of truth.'" Man's "ultimate salvation," of course, is eternal happiness with God in Heaven.

In every age, the Roman Catholic Church gives witness to Jesus and His redemptive death on the Cross of Calvary. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes," Jesus commanded the Apostles, "and you will give witness to Me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

Through the liturgy of the Mass, the Church prays what she believes. The Mass Orations, the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Prayers are chock full of doctrinal and moral truths. The Feast of Corpus Christi is an excellent example of the Catholic Church teaching us through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Feast of Corpus Christi originated in Belgium in the thirteenth century. In 1264, Pope Urban IV extended the celebration to the Universal Church. He commissioned the Dominican, Thomas Aquinas to write the liturgical office for the feast. Saint Thomas composed the Lauda Sion, Pange Lingua, Panis Angelicus and the Verbum Supernum. These hymns are masterpieces of Eucharistic doctrine and adoration. Our choir sings these hymns beautifully for our edification. The Lauda Sion is the Sequence of the Mass of Corpus Christi.

Drawing from the writings of St. Augustine, the Second Vatican Council refers to the Eucharist as the Paschal Banquet. In the Lauda Sion, Saint Thomas writes: "At this table of the new King, the new law's new Pasch puts an end to the old Pasch. The new displaces the old, reality the shadow and light the darkness." What does St. Thomas mean by the "old Pasch" and the "new Pasch?" What is the Paschal Banquet? We find the answers in both in sacred Scripture and sacred tradition. In next week’s article we will continue our reflections on the Lauda Sion and the profound Eucharistic mysteries it explores.

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


Blogger Thomas said...

Fr. Rego,

Not sure if you welcome comments, or read them. But your sermon was as excellent on Sunday as this site. As you can tell, many of us respect and cherish the Latin mass. I thank you for your service.



8:46 PM  
Blogger Fr. Richard J. Rego said...

Thank you Thomas. I appreciate your kind words. God bless you!
Father Rego

9:58 PM  
Blogger Fr. Richard J. Rego said...

Thank you Thomas. I appreciate your kind words. God bless you!
Father Rego

9:58 PM  

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