Sunday Reflection – 3 June 2018 – The Solemnity of Corpus Christi
There is a claim that the Adoro Te Devote, our morning offering today, was the prayer that St Thomas Aquinas addressed to Christ as he was dying. The claim remains doubtful, (in the sense that it is a highly intricate prayer and it would be difficult to write whilst very ill) but the account that his biographer, William of Tocco, gives of the holy Doctor’s last moments of life is, in itself, an extraordinary testimony of Eucharistic devotion and reveals the source of the doctrine that, directly or indirectly, inspired the most beautiful Eucharistic texts of the Latin Church, including the Adoro Te Devote.
“Feeling his strength failing and sensing the nearness of his departure from this world, the holy Doctor, with great devotion, requested the viaticum of the Christian pilgrimage, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
After the abbot and the monks had brought the Eucharist to him, he prostrated himself on the ground, weak in body but strong in spirit and went, with tears, to meet his Lord.
Then, in the presence of the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, as is the custom with every Christian at the moment of death, he was asked if he believed that in that consecrated host was the true Son of God, born of the womb of the Virgin, suspended from the scaffold of the Cross, who died and rose for us on the third day. With a free voice and great devotion, mingled with tears, he replied:
“I truly believe and hold as certain that He is true God and true man, Son of God and of the Virgin Mother and I believe with my heart and profess with my lips, that which the priest has asked me of this most Holy Sacrament.”
And after some words of devotion (at this point it is believed St Thomas quoted the Adoro), receiving the Sacrament, he exclaimed:
“I receive You, price of the Redemption of my soul, for love of which I have studied, watched and worked, I have preached and taught You, I have said nothing against You nor am I obstinate in my opinion, if in some part I have spoken poorly of this Sacrament, I submit all to the correction of the Holy Roman Church, in who obedience, I pass from this life.”
May we also, at the end of life, be able to say the same as St Thomas Aquinas!
Let us be transported to the same climate of expectation and joyful hope as we feel in the Adoro Te Devote with these last words of the Lauda Sion, the Eucharistic hymn/sequence also written by St Thomas Aquinas. (Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa O.F.M. “This is My Body”)
Source of all we have or know,
feed and lead us here below.
Grant that with Your saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love,
We may see You face to face.