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Pange Lingua

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1. Pange lingua gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.

2. Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

3. In supremae nocte coenae
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus

4. Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

5. Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

6. Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

V. Panem de caelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.

Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.


Click here for an English translation.

This hymn is exceedingly sublime in its expression of faith in Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The latter part of this hymn is mandated by the Church for use at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The last two stanzas, known as the Tantum Ergo, is usually sung at the beginning of the last part of Benediction; after any period of silence and before the priest blesses the congregation with Our Lord Himself. Even today this hymn is widely known and used frequently. It is one of the most famous chants in existence.

It was written by St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor. He is known as the Common Doctor of the Church. His angelic purity and holiness brought him very close to God. He wrote the hymn Pange Lingua (of which the Tantum Ergo is the last two stanzas) for the feast of Corpus Christi. A fellow priest and close friend attempted this task at the same time. When St. Thomas finished, he shared it with the priest, who was awe-struck at its sublimity and expression. He was so moved by its beauty that he immediately tore up his own work, which he professed was like so much garbage compared to this heavenly-inspired text.

The hymn is as beautiful and poetic as it is precise in expressing Catholic doctrine. It is peerless for its quality, sublimity, and facility with the Latin language. Verse 4 especially does a play on words, deftly arranged by a Latin master. St. Thomas Aquinas was a true man - as pious and humble as he was intelligent, as chaste as he was courageous, as meek as he was wise. Witness the heights a man can achive by God's grace and the cultivation of virtue - instead of descending toward the level of the lower animals (by sensuality, anger, unrestrained passions), he rather aims upward toward the level of the angels (by purity, humility, charity).


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