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Ecce Panis Angelorum

1. Behold the Bread of Angels,
made the Food of wayfarers,
Truly the bread of children,
not to be given to the dogs.
2. Presignified by figure,
When Isaac was immolated,
the Paschal Lamb was commanded,
Manna was given to the fathers.
3. Good shepherd, true Bread,
Jesus, have mercy on us:
Feed us, protect us,
Make us to see good things
in the land of the living.
4. Thou who knowest and willest all things,
Who feeds us mortals by This:
Make thine own to be partakers of,
coheirs and citizens in
that holy City of Saints.
Amen.

Click here for the Latin lyrics.

"Behold the Bread of Angels" - this is often used as a Benediction hymn, for obvious reasons. It recalls how the mystery of the Eucharist was signified by many events in the Old Testament - the immolation of Isaac, the Paschal Lamb, the manna given to the fathers in the desert. It then proceeds to ask Jesus for the grace to save our souls, so that we can join the citizens of Heaven, seeing Him forever in "the land of the living".

This is only the last 4 stanzas of the famous hymn, "Lauda Sion", written by St. Thomas Aquinas before the year 1274. It is the sequence for Corpus Christi, the great feast of the Body of Christ when the Church turns our attention to the great Gift of the Eucharist. Jesus gave us this precious Gift of Himself so that He might always be with us.

How sublime is this hymn! It teaches pure Catholic doctrine throughout. Nothing watered down, nothing that could be used in reference to your spouse or fiancee (as is the case with many modern hymns, which only talk about love). It discusses the establishment of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. It reinforces Catholic teaching, such as: You receive Jesus whole and entire under either species (bread, wine). As the faithful sing this every year in the Corpus Christi procession, they hear the words in verse 17, "The good receive It as do the bad, but the result is anything but the same; life for the one and destruction for the other." It mentions that as many as receive Him, He is not utterly consumed, but lives forever. A beautiful hymn, worthy of the great Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Common Doctor of the Church.


This is found on the following CD(s): Chant Compendium 1.

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