In our missal today, right after the second reading, is an “optional sequence” intended to be sung before the Gospel. It is the Lauda Sion, or, Praise of the Eucharist, by St. Thomas Aquinas. We didn’t sing or say it at our particular Mass, and it is quite long – one whole page in small print, twelve verses – but I’d like to highlight two verses here for the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. They focus on the theme of how the Holy Eucharist is the fulfillment of Old Testament events. [Apparently there are about twenty English translations of the original, so I’m just using the one from our Sunday Missal]:
Here the new law’s new oblation,
by the new King’s revelation,
Ends the forms of ancient rite.
Now the new the old effaces,
Substance now the shadow chases,
light of day dispels the night.
Hail, the food of Angels given
to the pilgrim who has striven,
to the child as bread from heaven,
food alone for spirit meant;
Now the former types fulfilling —
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal Lamb, its life-blood spilling,
manna to the ancients sent.
There are many other beautiful and important themes running through the Lauda Sion, and I was very happy to have become acquainted with it this year, as I don’t recall ever seeing it before. You can find some of the many English translations just by googling, or see it in Latin, and there are various versions on YouTube as well.