At the request of Pope Urban IV St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) composed the office (the official prayers of the Church) for the feast. This office is the source of the famous Eucharistic hymns Pange Lingua Gloriosiand Tantum Ergo Sacramentum (the final two verses of the Pange Lingua).
The hymn expresses the doctrine of transubstantiation, in which, according to the Roman Catholic faith, the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.
Liturgical Use: Vespers hymn on the Feast of Corpus Christi: the Tangtum Ergo and doxology are sung during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is used also as a processional hymn on Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi, and during the Forty Hours’ Adoration.The Pange Lingua is pre-eminently the hymn of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is the most beautiful of the great Eucharistic hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Pange Lingua Gloriosi Hymn:
Pange lingua gloriosi Corporis mysterium, Sanguinisque pretiosi, Quem in mundi pretium. Fructus ventris generosi Rex effudit gentium.
Nobis datus, nobis natus Ex intacta Virgine, Et in mundo conversatus, Sparso verbi semine, Sui moras incolatus Miro clausit ordine.
In supremæ nocte cœnæ, Recumbens cum fratribus Observata lege plene Cibis in legalibus, Cibum turbæ duodenæ Se dat suis manibus.
Verbum caro, panem verum Verbo carnem efficit: Fitque sanguis Christi merum Et si sensus deficit, Ad firmando cor sincerum Sola fides sufficit.
Tantum ergo Sacaramentum Veneremur cernui: Et antiquum documentum Novo cedat ritui: Præstet fides supplementum Sensuum defectui.
Genitori, Genitoque Laus et jubilatio, Salus, honor, virtus quoque Sit et benedictio; Procedenti ab utroque Compar sit lauditio.
Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory, Of His Flesh the mystery sing; Of the Blood, all price exceeding, Shed by our immortal King, Destined, for the world’s redemption, From a noble womb to spring.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin Born for us on earth below, He, as Man, with man conversing, Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow; Then He closed in solemn order Wondrously His life of woe.
On the night of that Last Supper Seated with His chosen band, He, the Paschal victim eating, First fulfills the Law’s command; Then as Food to all His brethren Gives Himself with His own hand.
Word made Flesh, the bread of nature By His word to Flesh He turns; Wine into His Blood He changes; What though sense no change discerns? Only be the heart in earnest, Faith her lesson quickly learns.
Down in adoration falling, Lo! the sacred Host we hail; Lo! o’er ancient form departing, Newer rites of grace prevail; Faith for all defects supplying, Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father, And the Son who reigns on high, With the Holy Ghost proceeding Forth from Each eternally, Be salvation, honor, blessing, Might, and endless majesty.
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