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Musical Musings: Hymns and Hymnody

A New Eucharistic Hymn

In this Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by Pope John Paul II (October 2004 – October 2005), we are called to reflect on the great Mystery of this Sacrament.

There is no doubt that the most evident dimension of the Eucharist is that it is a meal. The Eucharist was born, on the evening of Holy Thursday, in the setting of the Passover meal. Being a meal is part of its very structure. "Take, eat... Then he took a cup and... gave it to them, saying: Drink from it, all of you" (Mt 26:26, 27). As such, it expresses the fellowship which God wishes to establish with us and which we ourselves must build with one another.

Yet it must not be forgotten that the Eucharistic meal also has a profoundly and primarily sacrificial meaning. In the Eucharist, Christ makes present to us anew the sacrifice offered once for all on Golgotha. Present in the Eucharist as the Risen Lord, he nonetheless bears the marks of his passion, of which every Mass is a "memorial," as the Liturgy reminds us in the acclamation following the consecration: "We announce your death, Lord, we proclaim your resurrection..." [Pope John Paul II, Mane nobsicum #15]
Kathleen Pluth, Communications Director for the Washington Theological Consortium, offers us a timely gift in this her original hymn text, written for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Working toward her Licentiate degree in Sacred Theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC, she has completed a cycle of new hymn texts for the liturgical year, updating traditional images and using Scripture from the Lectionary for each of her new hymns. CanticaNOVA Publications will be releasing these hymn texts this summer in our volume, Hymns for the Liturgical Year, by Kathleen Pluth. The preface, The Holy Circle, can be viewed on our website already.

At the author's suggestion and with her kind permission, CanticaNOVA Publications offers this preview of the Eucharistic hymn from the collection, which you may use free of charge in your parish, particularly during this Year of the Eucharist. We ask that you include the author's name and the copyright notice on any copies you make for choir or congregation.

The meter of the hymn is Some tunes with this meter:

  • Fulda Melody   O Jesus, We Adore Thee / O Sacrament Most Holy
  • Aurelia   The Church's One Foundation
  • Ellacombe   The Day of Resurrection
  • Haf trones lampa färdig   Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers
  • Kings Lynn   By All Your Saints Still Striving
  • Mozart   I Sing the Mighty Pow'r of God
  • Nyland   In Heav'nly Love Abiding
  • Passion Chorale / Herzlich tut mich Verlangen   O Sacred Head Surrounded
  • Saint Theodulph / Valet will ich der geben   All Glory, Laud and Honor
  • Wie lieblich ist der Maien   Sing to the Lord of Harvest


How Light the Bread of Angels

   Kathleen Pluth
  1. How light the bread of angels upon the human tongue!
    This precious weight of glory that binds the Church in one!
    The flesh with all its passions could never match the bliss
    Of mind and heart and memory caught up in heaven's kiss.

  2. How blessèd is this banquet, Christ's sweet and costly meal.
    The love within the Godhead mysteriously revealed:
    When God the Son gives glory to God the Father high,
    As God the Holy Spirit effects the sacrifice.

  3. Forth from His wounded body, the water and the blood,
    The glad'ning stream of heaven swells to a mighty flood.
    It winds throughout the ages and flows into the hearts
    Of saints He makes from sinners with skillful healing arts.

  4. This food, so light, refreshing, shall speed our pilgrim way,
    Until that happy morning when dawn turns into day.
    Upon the holy mountain, within God's holy hall,
    The Father and the Spirit, and Christ, our all in all.
   © 2005 CanticaNOVA Publications

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