Our Morning Offering – 16 June – Corpus Christ, The Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
Lauda Sion Salvatorem
Sion, Lift Up thy Voice and Sing
By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Doctor Angelicus / Doctor Communis
Sion, lift thy voice and sing,
Praise thy Saviour and thy King,
Praise with hymns thy Shepherd true,
Dare thy most to praise Him well,
For He doth all praise excel,
None can ever reach His due.
Special theme of praise is Thine,
That true living Bread divine,
That life-giving flesh adored,
Which the brethren twelve received,
As most faithfully believed,
At the Supper of the Lord.
Let the chant be loud and high,
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt to-day in every breast;
On this festival divine
Which recounts the origin
Of the glorious Eucharist.
St Thomas Aquinas wrote the Liturgy for Corpus Christi when Pope Urban IV added the Solemnity to the universal Church’s Liturgical calendar in 1264. He provided a great sequence, one of the great poems chanted or recited before the proclamation of the Gospel.
Lauda Sion is one of only four medieval sequences which were preserved in the Roman Missal published in 1570 following the Council of Trent (1545–1563)—the others being Victimae Paschali Laudes (Easter), Veni Sancte Spiritus (Pentecost) and Dies irae (requiem masses).
(A fifth, Stabat Mater, would later be added in 1727.)
Before Trent, many feasts had their own sequences. The existing versions were unified in the Roman Missal promulgated in 1570.
The Lauda Sion is still sung today as solemn Eucharistic hymn, though its use is optional in the post-Vatican II Ordinary form.
As with St Thomas’s other three Eucharistic Hymns, the last few stanzas of the Lauda Sion are often used alone, in this case, to form the “Ecce Panis Angelorum”.