07 June 2007

Blessed Feast of...the Thursday after Trinity

to you all! Our Roman brothers and sisters celebrate this day as Corpus Christi. In 17th century Magdeburg the Lutherans celebrated it as the Thursday after Trinity. But they nevertheless read 1 Cor. 11:23-29 as the Epistle. Sang an ever so slightly "improved" form of St. Thomas Aquinas' sequence. And read the Gospel as John 6:55-58. And of course, they celebrated the Sacrament. They did that EACH Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

The "improved" version of the sequence is interesting. It's "Lauda Sion salvatorem" all the way except for the beginning of the sixth stanza:

Dogma datur christianis,
quod in carnem transit panis,
et vinum in sanguinem.

[A teaching given to Christians,
That the bread is changed into flesh,
And the wine into blood.]

Which is rendered,

Dogma sacrum Christiano,
Quod cum pane datur caro,
Et cum vino sanquis Christi.

[A sacred Christian teaching,
That with the bread is given flesh,
And with the wine the blood of Christ]

You can see what they're shying away from there - and especially on THIS day. But the sequence itself is really beautiful, and a very fruitful meditation upon this day.

Oops. I found ANOTHER change I had not noted previously. It's in stanza 7. Here's the original:

Sub diversis speciebus,
Signis tantum, et non rebus,
Latent res eximiae:
[Beneath different species
Only signs and not the thing itself,
Hidden the thing extraordinary]

This becomes:

Sub diversis elementis,
Pane et vino, retentis,
Latent res eximiae:
[Beneath different elements,
Bread and wine, remaining,
Hidden the thing extraordinary]

Hmm! That's VERY interesting. Not that they changed the first bit, but that they had zero compunction about going on to sing that the entire Christ is present under either species in the rest of that verse:

Caro cibus, sanguis potus,
Manet tamen Christus totus
Sub untraque specie.
[flesh as food, blood as drink,
Remains still the entire Christ
Under either species]


Past Elder said...

Just a couple of points --

I don't think -- admittedly I am no Latin scholar -- "transit" would have to be translated "changed" carrying the English implication that what was there before is no more. It can mean that, but does not always means that. The change could be a passing over of what is still bread into the body of Christ.

It is one thing to hold that Christ is complete under either element, it is quite another to withhold one of the elements from Communion (of the laity; the priest has both).

Anonymous said...

There were some very beautiful Corpus Christi processions at parishes in my area.

And I am slightly raising my eyebrow at mein Bruder's comment about the Precious Blood being withheld from the laity -- in former times yes for several reasons, but not today :)