Corpus Christi – Sequence

Sing forth, O Zion, sweetly sing

The praise of thy Shepherd-King,

In hymns and canticles divine;

Dare all thou canst, thou hast no song

Worthy his praises to prolong,

So far surpassing powers like thine.

Today no theme of common praise

Forms the sweetburden of thy lays –

The living, life-dispensing food-

That food which at the sacred board

Unto the brethren twelve our Lord

His parting legacy bestowed.

Then be the anthem clear and strong,

Thy fullest note, thy sweetest song,

The very music of thy breast:

For now shines forth the day sublime

That brings remembrance of the time

When Jesus first his table blessed.

Within our new King’s banquet-hall

They meet to keep the festival

That closed the ancient paschal rite:

The substance hath

the shadows chased;

And rising day dispels the night.

Christ willed what He  Himself

had done

Should be renewed while time

should run,

in memory of His parting hour:

Thus, tutored in His school divine,

We consecrate the bread and wine;

And lo – a Host of saving power.

This faith to Christian men is given –

Bread is made flesh by words

from heaven:

Into his Blood the wine is turned:

What though it baffles

nature’s powers

Of sense and sigMeetThis faith of ours

Proves more than nature

e’er discerned.

Concealed beneath the two-fold sign

Meet symbols of the gifts divine,

There lie the mysteries adored:

The living body is our food:

Our drink the ever precious blood;

In each, one undivided Lord.

Not he eateth it divides

The Sacred food,which whole abides

Unbroken still, nor knows decay;

Be one, or be a thousand fed,

The eat alike the Living Bread

Which, still received,

ne’er wastes away.

The good, the guilty share therein,

With sure increase of grace or sin,

The ghostly life or ghostly death:

Immortal life. See how one food

Man’s joy or woe accomplisheth.

We break the Sacrament; but bold

And firm thy faith shall keep its hold;

Deem not the whole doth

more enfold

Than in the fractured part resides:

Deem not that Christ doth broken lie;

‘Tis but the sign that meets the eye;

The hidden deep reality

In all its fullness still abides.

* Behold the bread of angels, sent

For pilgrims in their banishment

The bread for God’s true

children meant,

That may not unto dogs be given:

Oft in the olden types foreshadowed;

In Isaac on the altar bowed,

And in the ancient paschal food,

And in the manna sent

from hraven.

* come then, good shepherd,

bread divine,

Still show to us Thy mercy sign;

Oh, feed us still, still keep us Thine;

So may we see Thy glories shine

In fields of immortality;

* O Thou, the wisest, mightiest, best,

Our present food, our future rest,

Come, make us each Thy

chosen guest,

Coheirs  of Thine, and comrades blest

With saints whose dwelling

is with Thee.

Amen. Alleluia.




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