Thursday, June 4, 2015

Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ (1st Class)

At the end of the propers for Wednesday after Trinity Sunday, in the Dominican Breviary, the following rubric appears:
The feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated.  The Office was composed by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Ben XVI Corpus Dni.jpg
As Dominicans, it is a source of supreme pride that a member of our holy Order was tapped to compose the liturgical office for such an important feast in the calendar of the Church.  In his book “The History of the Dominican Liturgy”, Fr. Bonniwell, O.P., relates the tale of how there was much confusion, in modern times, over whether or not St. Thomas actually composed the office for the Feast of Corpus Christi.  Thankfully, the controversy was settled in favor of St. Thomas' authorship of the Office for the Feast.  As Dr. Martin Grabmann concluded,
"We can therefore regard the office of Corpus Christi as the genuine composition of St. Thomas Aquinas, it being in regard to its contents and constituent parts the product of his genius and intellect" (Bonniwell, p. 226, footnote).

Some of the distinctive features of the Office of the Feast of Corpus Christi, in the Dominican Breviary are:

The responsory at 1st Vespers:
.  A man once gave a great banquet, and sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, “Come * for all is now ready” .  Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. – For all is now ready. – Glory. – For all is now ready.
The Nunc dimittis antiphon at Compline:
Alleluia.  The bread which I shall give, alleluia, is my flesh, for the life of the world, alleluia, alleluia.
The versicle and response at the beginning of Lauds:
. I eat my honeycomb with my honey, alleluia. .  I drink my wine with my milk, alleluia.
During these days, when belief in the Real Presence is at tragically low levels among even Catholics who attend Mass regularly, we implore you, St. Thomas Aquinas, to pray for us.

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