Transiturus de Hoc Mundo

Sunday, June 7, AD 2015

Issued on August 11, 1264 by Pope Urban IV the Papal Bull Transiturus de Hoc Mundo established the great feast of Corpus Christi.  Saint Thomas Aquinas at the request of the Pope helped draft the Bull.

Additionally he wrote for the feast, also at the request of the Pope, his great eucharistic hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium .

The last portion of the hymn, Tantum Ergo, has vast significance for my family.  My wife, who is a far better Catholic in my estimation than I am, is a convert.  A Methodist when we married, she converted to the Church a few years later.  She had questions regarding the real presence, and this line from Tantum Ergo resolved them:  Faith tells us that Christ is present,  When our human senses fail.  When our kids came along she would whisper at the Consecration to them:  First it’s bread, now it’s Jesus.  First it’s wine, now it’s Jesus. 

 

Here is the text of  Transiturus de Hoc Mundo:

Urban Bishop,

 servant of the servants of God, to the venerable brothers, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and other prelates of the Church, health and the apostolic blessing.
About to pass from this world to the Father, our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, since the time of his Passion was at hand, instituted the great and wonderful Sacrament of his Body and Blood, bestowing his Body as food and his Blood as drink. For, as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we announce the death of the Lord. Indeed, at the institution of this Sacrament, he himself said to the Apostles: Do this in memory of me: so that for us the special and outstanding memorial of his love would be this venerable Sacrament; a memorial in which we attain the corporeal Presence of the Saviour himself.
Other things which we remember we embrace spiritually and mentally: we do not thereby obtain their real presence. However, in this sacramental commemoration, Jesus Christ is present with us in his proper substance, although under another form. As he was about to ascend into heaven, he said to the Apostles and their helpers, I will be with you all days even unto the consummation of the world. He comforted them with a gracious promise that he would remain and would be with them even by his corporeal presence. Therefore he gave himself as nourishment, so that, since man fell by means of the food of the death-giving tree; man is raised up by means of the food of the life-giving tree. Eating wounded us, and eating healed us. Thus the Saviour says, My Flesh is real food. This bread is taken but truly not consumed, because it is not transformed into the eater. Rather, if it is worthily received, the recipient is conformed to it.
We should celebrate continuously the memory of this memorial, because the more frequently his gift and favour are looked upon, so much the more firmly are they kept in memory. Therefore, although this memorial Sacrament is frequented in the daily solemnities of the Mass, we nevertheless think suitable and worthy that, at least once a year – especially to confound the lack of faith and the infamy of heretics – a more solemn and honourable memory of this Sacrament be held. This is so because on Holy Thursday, the day on which the Lord himself instituted this Sacrament, the universal Church, occupied with the reconciliation of penitents, blessing the chrism, fulfilling the Commandments about the washing of the feet and many other such things, is not sufficiently free to celebrate so great a Sacrament.
Moreover we know that, while we were constituted in a lesser office, it was divinely revealed to certain Catholics that a feast of this kind should be celebrated generally throughout the Church. Therefore, to strengthen and exalt the Catholic Faith, we decree that, besides the daily memory that the Church makes of this Sacrament, there be celebrated a more solemn and special annual memorial. Then let the hearts and mouths of all break forth in hymns of saving joy; then let faith sing, hope dance, charity exult, devotion applaud, the choir be jubilant, and purity delight. Then let each one with willing spirit and prompt will come together, laudably fulfilling his duties, celebrating the Solemnity of so great a Feast.
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3 Responses to Transiturus de Hoc Mundo

  • I once remarked to some of my French friends that I thought it a pity that Corpus Christi (which the French call simply the « Fête-Dieu » or “Festival of God”) is nowadays transferred to the nearest Sunday.
    They explained to me that the government would allow the Church only one public holiday that always fell on a Thursday, as people would, inevitably, make it an excuse for a long weekend – « faire le pont » or “make a bridge,” as they say and so the bishops settled for Ascension Day.
    The notion that there could be a Holiday of Obligation that was not also a public holiday was quite beyond their comprehension.

  • Just learning… so the Feast used to be on Thursday after Pentecost huh… the traditional calendar of feasts shows me so much depth of meaning.
    Today the feast day would have been the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces according to 1962 John 23rd Missal– that was 1962

    Today we have Bishop William of York.
    .
    http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya4.htm

  • In 1263 a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at Bolsena while on a pilgrimage to Rome. He is described as being a pious priest, but one who found it difficult to believe that Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host. While celebrating Holy Mass above the tomb of St. Christina (located in the church named for this martyr), he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal.

    The priest was immediately confused. At first he attempted to hide the blood, but then he interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to the neighboring city of Orvieto, the city where Pope Ur ban IV was then residing.

    The Pope listened to the priest’s account and absolved him. He then sent emissaries for an immediate investigation. When all the facts were ascertained, he ordered the Bishop of the diocese to bring to Orvieto the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains of blood. With archbishops, cardinals and other Church dignitaries in attendance, the Pope met the procession and, amid great pomp, had the relics placed in the cathedral. The linen corporal bearing the spots of blood is still reverently enshrined and exhibited in the Cathedral of Orvieto.

    It is said that Pope Urban IV was prompted by this miracle to commission St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the Proper for a Mass and an Office honoring the Holy Eucharist as the Body of Christ. One year after the miracle, in August of 1264, Pope Urban IV introduced the saint’s composition, and by means of a papal bull instituted the feast of Corpus Christi.

My Wife, Pope Urban IV, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Justin Martyr

Sunday, June 22, AD 2014

When Corpus Christi rolls around I always think of Saint Thomas Aquinas and his great eucharistic hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium written by Saint Thomas at the command of Pope Urban IV to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi instituted by the Pope in 1263.   It says something vastly significant about the Church that perhaps the greatest intellect of all time, Saint Thomas Aquinas, was not only a Doctor of the Church, but also capable of writing this magnificent hymn. 

The last portion of the hymn, Tantum Ergo, has vast significance for my family.  My wife, who is a far better Catholic in my estimation than I am, is a convert.  A Methodist when we married, she converted to the Church a few years later.  She had questions regarding the real presence, and this line from Tantum Ergo resolved them:  Faith tells us that Christ is present,  When our human senses fail.  When our kids came along she would whisper at the Consecration to them:  First it’s bread, now it’s Jesus.  First it’s wine, now it’s Jesus. 

I also think on Corpus Christi of Saint Justin Martyr:

Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis, ancient Shechem,  modern day Nablus, in Judaea circa 100 AD.  He was brought up a pagan.  Having enough money to pursue the study of philosophy, he encountered the teachings of Christ, after a long and methodical search for the true philosophy, and became a convert.  Having found the true philosophy, he traveled around the Roman Empire, spreading it, garbed in his philosopher’s gown.  Eventually he settled in Rome.  He wrote eight treatises defending Christianity.  His best known work is his First Apology which he addressed to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, one of the best of the emperors, who reigned from 138-161 AD.  This Apology was a plea for the Emperor to stop persecuting the Christians.  In this Apology he gives us many details as to how Catholics worshiped in Rome during the middle of the Second Century.   His description of the Eucharist is a treasure for all Catholics on Corpus Christi:

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5 Responses to My Wife, Pope Urban IV, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Justin Martyr

  • FEAST of CORPUS CHRISTI – THE BODY and BLOOD of CHRIST.
    On 22nd. June we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Christ, in solemn commemoration of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. As with many of the great feats of the Church, there is a fascinating history associated with the establishment of this holy day, and has a connection to saints and miraculous events.
    God’s instrument on this occasion was a Belgian woman born in 1191 known as St. Juliana of Liege, or St. Juliana of Mt. Cornillon, – the location of an Augustinian convent where she was educated as a girl from the age of five, along with her sister Agnes, after the death of their parents. She was later accepted into the order, made her religious profession there, and eventually became the superior of the convent.
    Juliana had an ardent love for Our Lady, and also cultivated an extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and as she grew in her vocation, longed for a special feast in honour of the Sacrament. It is said that this desire was increased by a vision of the Church under the appearance of the full moon with a black mark across it, signifying the absence of such a feast. Juliana expressed her desire to the bishop of Liege, and the Arch-deacon of Liege who was later to become Pope Urban IV. Both men received the suggestion favourably. In 1246 the Bishop, at a synod of Bishops from the Belgian dioceses, instituted a feast in honour of the Blessed Eucharist in their own dioceses. In later years, the Arch-deacon of Liege, Jacques Pantaleon, was consecrated as Bishop of Verdun, and then on 29th. August 1261, became Pope Urban IV – three years after the death of Juliana, who, as is common with many saints, suffered persecutions from her own order and some clerics.
    Two years later, in a seemingly unrelated event, occurred one of the great Eucharistic miracles of the Church, known as the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena-Orvietto, and approaching in amazement the extraordinary Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano five centuries before. In 1263 a German priest known only as Peter of Prague stopped at the place called Bolsena whilst making a pilgrimage to Rome. He was known as a pious priest, but personally found difficulty in believing that Christ was Truly and Substantially Present in the Consecrated Host. While celebrating Mass in the church of St.Christina, he had barely spoken the words of consecration, when blood started to seep from the Consecrated Host and trickle down over his hands and onto the altar cloths.
    In total confusion he at first attempted to hide the blood, but as there was such a profusion, he then interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to the close by city of Orvietto where Pope Urban IV was residing. The Pope listened to the priest’s account, and after absolving him, ordered that the Consecrated Host along with the altar cloths bearing the stains of the Blood of Christ be transported to the Cathedral at Orvietto. Bishops and Cardinals and other dignitaries formed a procession, and with great pomp and dignity the Host and the other relics were installed in the cathedral, where the linen corporal bearing the stains of the blood are reverently enshrined and exhibited, to this day.
    Pope Urban IV was so prompted by this miracle, and at the urgings of the Bishop of Liege, commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas – who happened to be with him – to compose a Proper of the Mass and an Office in honour of the Blessed Eucharist, and one year after the miracle on August 1264 instituted by Papal Bull the Feast of Corpus Christi to be celebrated throughout the entire Chu

  • I prepared this little gem for my RCIA class back in 2004. 🙂

  • Don the Kiwi: Great read. Good work.
    .
    “and with great pomp and dignity” might better convey the spirit with “great Solemnity” …just a suggestion.

  • I love this quote from Justin Martyr, Don. I was recently in one of those online conversations with an atheist who was saying that the Gospels etc. were late inventions. I’ll have to remember this quote for the next such discussion.

  • That is just beautiful. Thank you!

Corpus Cristi: A Saint, A Pope and a Miracle

Sunday, June 17, AD 2012

 

(A guest post from Don the Kiwi on the backstory regarding the institution of the feast of Corpus Cristi.)

 

Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of Corpus Cristi, which literally means the body of Christ, in solemn commemoration of the Holy Eucharist.   As with many of the great feasts of the Church there is a fascinating history associated with the establishment of this holy day, which involves a saint and a miracle.

God’s instrument on this occasion was a woman known to history as Saint Juliana of Liege, or Julian of Mount Comillon where she was educated as a girl by the Augustinian nuns at the convent there, after the death of her parents when she was only five.  She was accepted into the order, made her religious profession, and became the mother superior of the convent.

Juliana had an ardent love of Our Lady, and also cultivated an extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  As she grew in her vocation, she increasingly longed for a special feast in honor of the Sacrament.  She had a vision of the Church as a full moon with one dark spot, symbolizing the lack of such a feast.  Juliana expressed her to desire to the Bishop of Liege and the Archdeacon of Liege, who received her request favorably.  In 1246 the Bishop at a synod of bishops from lands now in the country of Belgium, successfully proposed that a feast in honor of the Blessed Eucharist  be instituted in the dioceses respresented at the Synod.  The Archdeacon of Liege, Jacques Pantaleon, in time became the Bishop of Verdun, then Patriarch of Jerusalem, and, on August 29, 1261, was elected Pope under the name of Urban IV.

Shortly after this, in an example of that synchronicity that often reveals the Hand of God in history, one of the great Eucharistic miracles of the Church occurred.  In 1263 Peter of Prague, a German priest, stopped at a town called Bolsena while on pilgrimage to Rome.  He was a pious priest but had difficulty in believing that Christ was truly present in the consecrated host.  While celebrating Mass in the Church of Saint Cristina, he finished saying the words of consecration, when blood started to seep from the consecrated host and trickled over his hands and onto the altar cloth and corporal

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5 Responses to Corpus Cristi: A Saint, A Pope and a Miracle

  • Originally, the feast was kept on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, to recall the institution of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday.

    I have been told that there was a fierce debate amongst the French hierarchy, when the government offered them either Ascension Day (Holy Thursday) or Corpus Christi (Le Fête-Dieu or Feast of God) as a public holiday, but not both – A public holiday on a Thursday inevitably means a long weekend, known as “faire le pont” (make the bridge). Ascension Day won and Corpus Christi was transferred to the following Sunday.

    The old name does survive and I think it is a splendid one.

  • That shows how direct The Holy Spirit is with convincing people of things.

  • St Michael’s near here had a week of Adoration followed by a Eucharistic Procession through several blocks of business and residential to celebrate Corpus Christi– many many participants all week and for the procession and benediction. Praise God.

  • It is with nostalgia that I remember how we used to celebrate this Great Feast on Thursdays while in Consolata and Loreto Sisters’ Convent Secondary Schools. We were sent the day before the fields around the Schools to collect flowers which we would throw down on the Route where the Procession was taking place. Following Jesus raised on a huge Monstrance stirred such strong emotions in my heart that are unforgettable.

    They still stir – even if not so strongly as when I was a teenager – each time I am sitting before the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoration Chapel, during Benediction. It was the same last Sunday, when we took Jesus around the Streets of Nairobi City Centre. Our Holy Family Minor Basilica, the Seat of the Head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, John Cardinal Njue, is smack in the middle of what we call “The City Square”.

    Oh my Jesus, may You be adored, worshiped, honoured, praised and loved in all the Tabernacles and Adoration Chapels in all the Catholic Churches all over the world, now and until th end of Time

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    In Alsace, Corpus Christi is known as “Kranzeltag,” or “Day of Garlands” from the flowers lining the streets for the procession