Thursday 7 June 2012

A Corpus Christi treat

Today, whatever you may hear to the contrary, is the feast of Corpus Christi.

We have this feast because the obvious time to celebrate this - Maundy Thursday - is hardly appropriate for the great high holiday the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament deserves.

The liturgical celebration of this Feast in our country has been moved, legitimately but in my view extremely unwisely, by our bishops to the nearest Sunday.

That does not, of course, mean that we cannot celebrate the feast today, in solidarity with Rome and many other parts of the world.

I am taking the day off work, and am going with Anna to visit Fountains Abbey as a Corpus Christi treat.

In the meantime, here's your treat: O Sacrum Convivium, by Thomas Tallis.

O sacrum convivium!
in quo Christus sumitur:
recolitur memoria passionis eius:
mens impletur gratia:
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.

O sacred banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.


Part-time Pilgrim said...

How good a translation is "banquet" for "convivium"? Convivium must have some sense of living together so does it mean more than banquet or is this an example of Latin etymology?

Ben Trovato said...

I think banquet is pretty good: though you are right about the root meaning. Here is (are?) Lewis and Short on the subject:

con-vīvĭum , ii, n. vivo; lit.,
I. a living together; hence, a meal in company, a social feast, entertainment, banquet (freq. and class.): “bene majores nostri accubitionem epularem amicorum, quia vitae conjunctionem haberet, convivium nominarunt, melius quam Graeci, qui hoc idem tum compotationem tum concenationem vocant,” Cic. Sen. 13, 45: “domi agitare,” Plaut. Mil. 2, 2, 10: “strategum te facio huic convivio,” id. Stich. 5, 4, 20: “sublatum'st convivium,” id. Men. 3, 1, 19: “Rhodium tangere in convivio,” Ter. Eun. 3, 1, 30: “suam egit semper vitam in otio, in conviviis,” id. Ad. 5, 4, 9; 5, 9, 8; id. Hec. 1, 2, 18; Lucr. 4, 1131: “dominum cum togā pullā (videre) ante convivium,” Cic. Vat. 13, 31: “ornare splendide convivium,” id. Quint. 30, 93; Cic. Verr. 2, 4, 20, § 44; Cat. 47, 5; Verg. G. 1, 301: “nos convivia cantamus,” Hor. C. 1, 6, 17; id. Epod. 11, 8; id. Ep. 1, 5 29; Prop. 4 (5), 6, 71; Tac. A. 3, 9; 15, 30.—
II. Concr., company at table, guests ( = convivae): “nequitiam vinosa tuam convivia narrant,” Ov. Am. 3, 1, 17; Sen. Tranq. 1, 8; Petr. 109, 5; Plin. 22, 23, 47. § 96; 28, 2, 5, § 27; Stat. S. 3, 1, 77.
A Latin Dictionary. Founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary. revised, enlarged, and in great part rewritten by. Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and. Charles Short, LL.D. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1879.
The National Endowment for the Humanities provided support for entering this text.


Part-time Pilgrim said...

Thank you (especially for the Lewis and Short link - will save me pestering you with esoteric questions. Who cares what the etymology of this or that word is)

Ben Trovato said...


'Who cares what the etymology of this or that word is?'

I do, sadly...

Part-time Pilgrim said...

As you have probably guessed, me too!