Thursday, June 16, 2022

Corpus Christi 2022

Transiturus de mundo ad Patrem Jesus, in mortis suae memoriam * instituit sui corporis et sanguinis Sacramentum. V. Corpus in cibum, sanguinem in potum tribuens, Hoc, ait, facite in meam commemorationem. Instituit. Gloria Patri. Instituit. (The twelfth responsory of Matins of Corpus Christi in the Benedictine Breviary.)

Folio 22r of the Hours of René of Anjou, King of Sicily (15th century; Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits.)
V. When He was about to pass from the world to the Father, in memory of His death, Jesus * instituted the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. V. Giving His Body as food, and His Blood as drink, He said, “Do this in memory of me.” He instituted. Glory be. He instituted.

The text of this responsory is taken from the Bull Transiturus of Pope Urban IV (1261-64), by which he ordered the establishment of the feast of Corpus Christi; it is such a beautiful piece of writing that it was commonly read in the Divine Office at Matins of the feast. This custom was changed in the Roman Breviary by the Tridentine reform, but it continued elsewhere, most notably at Liège, where the feast was first celebrated, and where Pope Urban had been archdeacon; also in the Carthusian Breviary.

“When Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, was about to pass from this world to the Father, as the time of His Passion drew nigh, having taken supper, He instituted unto the memory of His death the most exalted and magnificent Sacrament of His Body and Blood, giving His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. For however so often we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. In the institution of this saving Sacrament, He said to the Apostles, “Do this in memory of Me”, so that this august and venerable Sacrament might be the special and particular memorial of the exceptional love with which He loved us: this memorial, I say, wondrous and astounding, full of delight, sweet, most secure, and precious above all things, in which signs are renewed and wonders changed, in which is contained every delight and the enjoyment of every savor, and the very sweetness of the Lord is tasted, by which we do indeed obtain the support of our life and salvation. This is the memorial most sweet, most sacred, most holy, profitable unto salvation, by which we recall the grace of our redemption; by which we are drawn away from evil and strengthened in good, and advance to the increase of virtues and graces, by the bodily presence of the Savior.

The Institution of the Holy Eucharist, by Federico Barocci, from the Aldobrandini Chapel of St Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome; 1603-8
Transiturus de mundo ad Patrem Salvator noster Dominus Jesus Christus, cum tempus suae passionis instaret, sumpta coena, in memoriam mortis suae instítuit summum et magnificum sui Corporis et Sanguinis sacramentum: Corpus in cibum, et Sánguinem in poculum tribuendo. Nam quotiescumque hunc panem manducamus, et calicem bibimus, mortem Domini annuntiamus. In institutione quidem hujus salutiferi Sacramenti, dixit ipse Apostolis: Hoc facite in meam commemorationem: ut praecipuum et insigne memoriale sui amoris, quo nos dilexit, esset nobis hoc praecelsum et venerabile Sacramentum, memoriale, inquam, mirabile ac stupendum, delectabile ac suave, tutissimum ac sitibundum, carissimum et super omnia pretiosum. In quo innovata sunt signa, et mirabilia immutata, in quo habetur omne delectamentum, et omnis saporis suavitas, ipsaque dulcedo Domini degustatur; in quo utique vitae suffragium consequimur, et salutis. Hoc est memoriale dulcissimum, memoriale sanctissimum, memoriale salvificum, in quo gratam redemptionis nostrae recensemus memoriam, in quo a malo retrahimur, confortamur in bono, et ad virtutem et gratiarum proficimus incrementa, et in quo profecto reficimur ipsius corporali praesentia.”

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