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Listening to a Christmas CD, I have found myself repeating a song I had listened to many times, yet had never really heard.

As Josh Groban’s voice fills my vehicle with the Latin words that shared how the poor and humble servant would be satiated by the gift from heaven, my thoughts drifted to Christmas.

Panis Angelicus,  (bread of angels or bread of heaven) was written by Thomas Aquinas in the twelve hundreds, as part of a communion-themed hymn called Sacris Solemniis.

In English, the lyrics are as follows:

Heavenly bread

That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings;
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
 
Heavenly bread
That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings;
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.

Heavenly bread … like the manna, provided to the Israelites, by God himself, in the desert. The Israelites, complaining about the menu, forgetting from the bondage that they left when lead into the desert (perhaps a desert is not so dry and desolate).

Like manna from heaven, God send his Son to Earth. Like the Israelites who wandered in the desert, we too live our lives as if our existence is in a dry and desolate place. We too complain, not because we are starving, but because we want more than just sustenance, we strive to icing on the cake (our cake). We desire more, more, more, of all that does not satisfy.

We have within reach, even in our grasp, the bread of heaven, through the Christ child, yet me look beyond him to what is temporary. It is as though we look straight through him, all the while crying for more.

Perhaps we have too much.

Perhaps we need to be the most humble, the poorest of servants before we can be truly filled with this bread of heaven, this Christmas, and every day.

Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
John 6:31-35

 

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