Thursday, September 28, 2023

Another Hymn for the Eucharistic Revival by Kathleen Pluth

Last week, we shared a hymn for the Eucharistic Revival by Kathleen Pluth (, who excels as both a translator of older hymns from Latin, and as a writer of her own original ones. Here is another of her efforts, from a couple of years back, together with a recording by Francisco Carbonell, who also did the Spanish translation of the alternate verses given below.

Kathleen writes: In 2021, Fr. Justin Ward, Vicar for Sacred Liturgy for Bishop Steven Raica of the diocese of Birmingham, commissioned a hymn for the region’s “Year of the Parish and Eucharist.” The hymn was to focus on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the parish.

The tune the diocese chose has a tight structure of alternating 8- and 6- syllable lines, which in my experience calls for pithy, expressive images rather than long, developed thoughts.

The first two stanzas focus on the meaning of the Eucharist in the community. It does not literally call the Eucharist “source and summit,” but its meaning here is definitely that of “source.” What is the source of our communal life? The Blessed Sacrament.

The third verse expresses a devotion to the kenosis of the Incarnate Word, but cites 2 Corinthians 8, 9, rather than Philippians 2, as we might expect: “Although He was rich, he became poor, so that through His poverty you might become rich.” Jesus’ sacrifice has implications for our life as Christians – not so much as moral imperatives, but as moral participations in His same sacrificial love. The love of Christ impels us.

The 5th verse, which begins with the “stay with us” of the disciples at Emmaus, goes on to speak to the Lord present in the viaticum which accompanies us on the path to eternal life.

The final verse of many hymns is doxological, praising the Trinity, and when I can I like to slip in some kind of litany, praising God in particular ways. Here we acclaim the Lord, “Our gracious Host, our saving Guest, our life, our unity.”

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