With FB removed from my commuting routine (I spend a couple hours on the Metra train each day), one of the books I've read is The Heroic Face of Innocence: Three Stories, by Georges Bernanos. The first story is about St. Joan of Arc. It pulls from the transcripts of her trial. The middle story wasn't as good. The third is a masterpiece, The Dialogues of the Carmelites, based on the true story of the 16 Carmelite nuns of Compiegne that were executed on one day during the Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution. The sisters first sang the Salve Regina and then the Veni Creator Spirtus, with the sound of their chorus having less voices as each sister in turn was beheaded. That led me to find the opera of the same name by Poulenc. While the play written by Georges Bernanos is fiction, it is a masterpiece of the reality of heartfelt faith testifying to not only the faith of the Carmelite sisters, but also the faith of Bernanos. The opera also testifies to the faith of Poulenc.
Poulenc's opera is also acclaimed as a masterpiece. It was a little unfortunate the streaming video of the opera on Amazon did not have the sisters in their habits, and also that it had no subtitles, and it was sung completely in French, but the story was fresh in my mind.
Well, besides the French there are were several hymns in Latin that we don't often hear, but I am going to download to listen to more often:
That isn't correct. We hear Ave Maria on the Marian Feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. The Salve Regina we are familiar with as it is the Latin version of the "Hail Heavenly Queen" that we pray after the 5th decade of the rosary. The Ave verum corpus though, how many of you know that one?
- Ave verum corpus, natum
- de Maria Virgine,
- vere passum, immolatum
- in cruce pro homine,
- cuius latus perforatum
- fluxit aqua et sanguine:
- esto nobis praegustatum
- in mortis examine.
- O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
- Miserere mei. Amen.
A translation into English is:
- Hail, true Body, born
- of the Virgin Mary,
- who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
- on the cross for mankind,
- whose pierced side
- flowed with water and blood:
- May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
- in the trial of death.
- O sweet Jesus, O pious Jesus, O Jesus, son of Mary,
- have mercy on me. Amen.
From Wikipedia, "The hymn's title means "Hail, true body", and is based on a poem deriving from a 14th-century manuscript from the Abbey of Reichenau, Lake Constance. The poem is a meditation on the Catholic belief in Jesus's Real Presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist. . . ."
Well, I want to start praying it again, and maybe singing it too.
It is sad how few "Catholics" believe and reverence Jesus's Real Presence in the Sacrament of the the Holy Eucharist. I could go on my soap box about all the little things that happened over the years - losing the communion rails, receiving communion standing up, receiving communion from lay ministers, receiving communion in the hand, mass consecrations of the Eucharist, etc. I don't like it. It is not this way in the Byzantine church nor in churches that celebrate Latin Masses with communion rails. But I won't go on my soap box. I will pray for reform, and I will continue to be one of those nuisance people who insist on kneeling during the consecration, even when the priest says to stand, and to navigate to the priest's communion aisle away from the lay woman handing out communion in the fashionable top and the well practiced "Receive the Body of Christ". Pretty sure it is simply, "The Body of Christ", but she felt led to embellish . . . arghh! Even she wasn't as bad as the 7th grader from my local parish that was practically giggling as she was handing out the Body of Christ. More and more things are making me appreciate the Roman Catholic Church but this really needs reform.
We recently did a college visit to Franciscan University of Steubenville. There are Eucharistic Ministers there, but only for the cups. The Body of Christ is only given by the priests. Sadly I heard an upsetting story from a girl there that attended a Catholic High School in our area. First she said she thinks only 50% of the students believed in God, let alone were Catholic. Secondly, she told about a football player receiving Communion in the hand and then going to the back of the church and throwing the Consecrated Host in the garbage can. Very upsetting, but also, that doesn't happen when you receive communion in the mouth at the Communion Rail, or in the mouth by the spoon in the Byzantine rite.