Today we had Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Chapel of St Joseph Institution International. I served Mass together with the usual brothers. The music was very beautiful. Of notice is the Sequence before the Gospel, named Lauda Sion. It was 24 verses long. I think the schola took about six or seven minutes to finish singing it. It was good, allowing the meaning to sink into me. This sequence was composed by St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. It perfectly summarizes all the teachings on the Holy Eucharist.
Some of the verses which are very striking, especially:
Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
sorte tamen inaequali,
vitae vel interitus.
Mors est malis, vita bonis:
vide paris sumptionis
quam sit dispar exitus.
Both the wicked and the good
eat of this celestial Food:
but with ends how opposite!
With this most substantial Bread,
unto life or death they’re fed,
in a difference infinite.
It reminds us to prepare ourselves well to receive Holy Communion, to be in state of grace before that. Many Catholics do not prepare themselves well for Communion. It is very lamentable. If we do not take this seriously, we are eating to our death. Blessed are those who prepare well, for they are eating to eternal life. This is what they mean when the verse writes ‘but with ends how opposite!’. All the good and bad Catholics eat the same Holy Eucharist, yet the outcome is different! Those who eat well, go to heaven. Those who do poorly, go to hell.
In the Ordinary Form, the priest (or extraordinary minister if you are unfortunate) will say ‘Corpus Christi’ or ‘Body of Christ’ before administering the Holy Sacrament to the recipient. In the Extraordinary Form, the full words are ‘Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.’ or in English ‘May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.’
In the new rite we acknowledge that the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but perhaps we have forgot one thing; we are eating it so that we may enter heaven. It cannot be simplified as just having a family meal every Sunday. This is a matter of life and death!
It was one of the most impactful Masses I have served. I understood what was going on. I managed to pray. Best of all is, despite recent events I felt peaceful. Absolute bliss. It was indeed a foretaste of heaven. It is as the hymn Ave Verum Corpus goes, ‘Be a foretaste of sweetness to me; In my death’s great agony’
After Mass we carried on with the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament. We sang a number of hymns, including O Salutaris Hostia, one English version of O Salutaris Hostia, Pange Lingua Gloriosi, and the rarely heard Te Deum Laudamus.
Another thing which struck me was, after the ablutions and before the Post Communion prayer, I saw that the altar was bathed with sunlight. Absolutely amazing.
Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen.