Today we celebrate the great feast of Corpus Christi – the body of Christ. We celebrate God’s coming as man in Jesus Christ & his fulfillment to be with us “even to the end of time” (Mt 28:20) by his giving himself to us in the Eucharist. I don’t know about you, but I have experienced times of utter humble thanksgiving in receiving Holy Communion or in praying before Our Lord in adoration. Today is always one of those days.
I sing. Music courses through my veins. It is a very part of my soul. At times of my deepest joys and sorrows, I turn to music. For me it is an expression which transcends the physical realm in a way that no others do. Every time I sing at church, I pray, “Mary, Queen of the Angels, send the heavenly choirs of angels to sing through me so all who hear me today will hear only God’s voice. Minister to all those present so that their hearts will turn to Jesus and they will fall deeper I in love with Him, and God’s will may be accomplished in their lives.” When someone says to me, “You sounded like an angel,” I praise God because I know my prayer has been answered. All must point to the glory of God.
I’d like to introduce you to a song that touched me very deeply and drew me ever more closely to Christ in the Eucharist. Some of you may know it, for others it may be new. I beg your indulgence.
Several years ago I sang at an Advent festival at my parish. A good friend of mine introduced me to one of the most beautiful, Eucharistic songs I have ever heard. The words to “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” come originally from the fourth century Mass of St. James which was done in Greek. It was translated into English in 1864 and adapted to music by Gerard Moultrie, using a traditional French carol melody.
The first time I sang this, I was actually directing the small choir assembled for the Advent festival. It was a unique experience because as I sang it & heard it in it fullness of its harmony coming out of me & coming at me. The lyrics speak so plainly of the majesty and miracle of God becoming man and our necessary response to worship him in awe. The tonality of the music and its rise and fall drew me into the depth of this great mystery. For it is the truest of mysteries. How could we ever comprehend it?
Today, I invite you to meditate with me on this beautiful hymn based on Habakkuk 2:20: “Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” I found two renditions. One by John Michael Talbot and the other by the Singing Nuns. I encourage you to take 10 minutes out of your day to stop. Read through the lyrics below, and then listen to the music and let it lead you into the mystery and the gratitude of this indescribable gift.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!
May God bless you and keep you & may we never take this gift for granted. Anne
If you’d like to listen to the Orthodox Cherubic Hymn in Carpatho-Rusyo chant, check it out here.