Monday, May 30, 2005

Pange, lingua, gloriosi corporis mysterium

Yesterday I went to Incarnation, where I spent three years as a parishioner and where Justin and I were married. It was great to see everyone again--or nearly everyone; anyway, I answered the same questions a dozen times, but I also hugged a bunch of people, and the sign of peace at a church where you know lots of people is nice when you've been away from your husband for a week. (sigh) I sang with the 11:30 choir, and the music included The Name of God, which I think is my favorite psalm setting (not the one we used for our wedding, though it probably wouldn't have been as appropriate for a mixed gathering at a wedding anyway) and other songs suitable for the feast of Corpus Christi.

Three years ago, I spent my first Corpus Christi as a Catholic in Ravenna, and I was smugly proud with myself (didn't have anyone else to brag to) that I knew it was Corpus Christi because I understood the gospel reading (John 6) and the homily with my limited knowledge of Italian. This year, at Incarnation, I participated in the procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the church and into the chapel dedicated to it, and sang Thomas Aquinas' Pange Lingua along with the rest of the choir. I love the arrangement we use, which has a beautiful descant Peggy sang--on the third verse I think there's an alto part too, which I'd like to learn someday.

Since the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is one of those crazy but sublime paradoxes that drew me to Catholicism, I like the feast of Corpus Christi almost as much as Holy Thursday, when we also sing Pange Lingua, and wash one another's feet. I had tears in my eyes when I was going through RCIA and we celebrated Holy Thursday, because I started out washing other people's feet, but then other people took over, and I saw the Campbells, who've been married at least thirty years, wash one another's feet. Justin is a little squeamish about the idea (not about feet per se) but I'm looking forward to washing his feet one of these years. But now I'm getting off topic. Oh well.

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