Ad I & II Vesperas: St. Thomas Aquinas
W&H: This, the best known of Aquinas's Corpus Christi hymns, was and is appointed to be sung at First Vespers; but it is also the processional hymn on Holy Thursday, when, following celebration of the Eucharist, the consecrated hosts are borne to the Altar of Repose to be distributed on Good Friday. The final two stanzas are familiar to many as the second hymn in Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Pange, lingua, gloriósi (1)
córporis mystérium, (2)
quem in mundi prétium
fructus ventris generósi (3)
Rex effúdit géntium.
Nobis datus, nobis natus
ex intácta Vírgine,
et in mundo conversátus,
sparso verbi sémine,
sui moras incolátus
miro clausit órdine. (4)
In suprémæ nocte cenæ
recúmbens cum frátribus, (5)
observáta lege plene (6)
cibis in legálibus, (7)
cibum turbæ duodénæ
se dat suis mánibus.
Verbum caro panem verum
verbo carnem éfficit, (8)
fitque sanguis Christi merum,
et, si sensus déficit,
ad firmándum cor sincérum (9)
sola fides súfficit.
Tantum ergo sacraméntum
et antíquum documéntum
novo cedat rítui;
præstet fides suppleméntum
laus et iubilátio,
salus, honor, virtus quoque
sit et benedíctio;
procedénti ab utróque
compar sit laudátio. Amen.
W&H: 1. Pange, lingua, gloriosi: echoes the opening words of the celebrated hymn of Fortunatus .
2. mysterium: The Greek word, Eph 5:32, is rendered in the Latin Vulgate as sacramentum.
3. fructus ventris generosi: So Elizabeth at Lk 1:42: "Benedictus fructus ventris cui" (Blessed is the fruit of your womb). The word generosi may bear the double sense of "highborn" (following the genealogy at Mt and "noble" in the moral sense.
4. miro clausit ordine: That is, the ''wondrous ordering" of Last Supper, Passion, and Crucifixion.
5. recumbens: The ancients typically ate meals lying on their sides on couches.
6. observata legeplene cibis in legalibus: Jesus observed the Law fully by celebrating the Passover at the prescribed time, and by consuming the paschal lamb (cibis in legalibus).
7. cibus: The play in cibis/cibus reminds us that Christ is become the paschal Iamb.
8. verbo carnem efficit: Referring to the biblical formula of the consecration (Mt
9. adfirmandum: That is, to strengthen hearts in belief in the Real Presence. 5-3 documentum: An "example serving as precedent" (so OLD) of the Passover.
Sing, O tongue, the mystery of the glorious body and precious blood, which, the fruit of a noble womb, the King of nations shed as the price of the world. Given to us, born for us from the Virgin Mary, dwelling in the world, having sprinkled the seed of the word, living among us a short while, in a wondrous order he finished his course. In the night of the last supper, reclining with his brothers, observing the law completely, with the food the law decreed, with his own hands he gave himself as food to the twelvefold band. Word made flesh he makes true bread flesh by his word, even if senses fail to see, faith alone is sufficient to strengthen sincere hearts. Therefore on bended knee we worship such a great sacrament, and the ancient scripture gives place to a new rite. To the Father and to the Son be praise and exultation, salvation, honor, power and blessing. To the one who proceeds from both equal praise. Amen.
Ad Officium lectionis: St. Thomas Aquinas
Sacris sollémniis iuncta sint gáudia, (1)
et ex præcórdiis sonent præcónia;
recédant vétera, nova sint ómnia, (2)
corda, voces et ópera.
Noctis recólitur cena novíssima, (3)
qua Christus créditur agnum et ázyma (4)
dedísse frátribus iuxta legítima (5)
priscis indúlta pátribus.
Dedit fragílibus córporis férculum,
dedit et trístibus sánguinis póculum,
dicens: «Accípite quod trado vásculum;
omnes ex eo bíbite».
Sic sacrifícium istud instítuit,
cuius offícium commítti vóluit
solis presbýteris, quibus sic cóngruit,
ut sumant et dent céteris.
Panis angélicus fit panis hóminum; (6)
dat panis cælicus figúris términum. (7)
O res mirábilis: mandúcat Dóminum
servus pauper et húmilis.
Te, trina Déitas únaque, póscimus; (8)
sic nos tu vísitas sicut te cólimus:
per tuas sémitas duc nos quo téndimus
ad lucem quam inhábitas. Amen.
Joseph Connelly, Hymns of the Roman Liturgy
1. solemniis; from solemnium, a non-classical, Christian word.
2. vetera. The rites of the old Law, but also habits of sin, the leaven of malice and wickedness, 1 Cor. 5, 3. Nova; the new Law and habits informed by grace. novissima, last. But the last is also the newest, novissima, and the idea of newness is not far from St Thomas's mind. Nova sint omnia he had just written.
4. creditur. This fact is implied, but not stated, in the Scriptures; cf. Lk. 22, 8.
5. fratribus; cf. Pange, linqua: our Lord’s name for his apostles and the Church’s echo in Orate, fratres.
6. angelicus and caelicus: Et panem caeli dedit eis. Panem angelorum manducavit homo, Ps. 77, 24—Angelorum esca nutrivisti popglum tuum; et paratum panem de caelo praestitisti illis sine labore, omne delectamentum in se habentem, Wisdom 16, 20. These texts are about the manna which was 'heavenly' because of its origin and 'angelic' because of its ministers. They are then applied to the Eucharist, the living bread from heaven, John 6, 51, and the bread of angels in that the angels feast spiritually on Christ by their direct vision of Him in heaven; cf. ST. 3, 80, 2. They figure prominently in this Office by quotation, as in the versicle at Vespers and the second antiphon at Lauds, and by allusion, as in this hymn.
7.figuris, types; but in Adoro te Devote (possibly not by St. Thomas) figuris means appearances. Terminum, because all types, the manna, the unleavened bread, the paschal lamb etc., gave way to the reality at this Supper when Christ made all things new.
8. trina deitas, St Thomas did not share the scruples of Raban and Hincmar about this phrase.
On this holy solemnity may our joy be enjoined and from our inmost hearts praise resound. May the old recede and may all things become new, hearts, voices, deeds. That night at the last supper is recalled, when, it is believed, Christ gave to his brothers the lamb and unleavened bread in accordance with the law given to their fathers in former times. He gave to those weak apostles the food of his body, he gave to the sad the drink of blood, saying “receive this chalice which give, all of yo7u drink from it.” Thus he instituted this sacrifice, which he desired to be work of priests alone, so it is right that they receive themselves first and then administer to others. The bread of angels becomes the bread of men, the heavenly bread which puts an end to types. O how wondrous is this! The poor and lowly servant feeds on his Lord. We beseech you, O triune Deity, that you visit us, as we worship you; direct us on your paths by which we tend to the light in which you dwell. Amen.
Ad Laudes matutinas: St. Thomas Aquinas
Verbum supérnum pródiens (1)
nec Patris linquens déxteram,
ad opus suum éxiens
venit ad vitæ vésperam.
In mortem a discípulo (2)
suis tradéndus æmulis,
prius in vitæ férculo
se trádidit discípulis.
Quibus sub bina spécie
carnem dedit et sánguinem,
ut dúplicis substántiæ (3)
totum cibáret hóminem.
Se nascens dedit sócium,
convéscens in edúlium,
se móriens in prétium,
se regnans dat in præmium. (4)
O salutáris hóstia,
quæ cæli pandis óstium, (5)
bella premunt hostília:
da robur, fer auxílium.
Uni trinóque Dómino
sit sempitérna glória,
qui vitam sine término
nobis donet in pátria. Amen.
W&H: 1. Verbum supernum prodiens: Aquinas here exploits the exordium of a pre-Carolingian hymn, Verbum supernum prodiens / a patre olim exiens (on which, see Walpole, 302—4). In that hymn reference is to the procession of Son from the Father, and not to the descent of the Son in the Incarnation, as here.
2. discipulo . . . tradendus . . . se tradidit discipulis: Contrast between betrayal by Judas and Jesus's self-giving is accentuated by the repetition of the verb in tradendus . . . se tradidit; self-giving precedes (prius) betrayal.
3. ut. totum cibaret hominem: The theme of self-giving continues ("feeding them with his whole human person, consisting of the double substance"). This is the correct sense of totum hominem, not "the whole of mankind."
4. in praemium: The reward is the conferment of the Eucharist.
5. hostia, quae caeli pandis ostium: Note the play hostia . . . ostium. In the tradition of the Latin Fathers, emphasis is laid on the Redemption as the expiation of sins through Christ's sacrificial death.
The heavenly Word coming forth, yet not leaving the Father’s right hand, going out to his work, he came to his life’s evening tide. When he was about to be handed by a disciple to death at the hands of his enemies, he first handed over himself as the bread of life to his disciples. He gave his flesh and blood under two species that he might feed them the whole man in double substance. Being born he gave himself as our companion, at the meal he gave himself to be eaten; dying he gave himself to pay the price, ruling he gives himself as man’s prize. O saving Victim, who opens the gate of heaven, hostile wars oppress us, grant us strength, grant us help. Eternal glory be to the triune Lord: may he grant to us life without end in our fatherland. Amen.