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St. Thomas Aquinas, as evidenced by his many moving hymns, possessed a limitless, profound devotion to the Holy Eucharist. For St. Thomas, the Eucharist was the only adequate way to approach reality, replete as it is with its challenges and enigmas and contradictions. The ineffable power of the Eucharist to enlighten, to enable, to animate, to renew cannot be overstated. St. Thomas wrote:
No one can fully express the sweetness of this Sacrament in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his Passion. It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper.
We can feel the heart of St. Thomas in his hymn “Lauda Sion”:
On the Table of the King,
Our new Paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite;
Here for empty shadows fled,
Is Reality instead;
here instead of darkness Light.
If we long for the shadows in our life to flee, and for God’s own light to replace the darkness that enshrouds us, let us abandon ourselves to the wonder and grace of the Eucharist. We can pray with St. Thomas as we prepare to receive Holy Communion:
I come as infirm to the Physician of life,
as unclean to the fountain of mercy,
as blind to the light of eternal splendor,
as poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.
I implore the abundance of your immense bounty
that you would grant
to cure my infirmity,
to wash away my uncleanness,
to enlighten my blindness,
to enrich my poverty,
to clothe my nakedness
that I may receive the Bread of angels,
the King of kings,
the Lord of hosts.
Installments in this series can be found each week here: Real Presence
Also, find Fr. Peter John Cameron’s weekly reflection on the Sunday liturgy here, with a video and written reflection.