07 June 2017

Heber/Uher Hymn: "Bread of the world ..."


The copyright of the text is under Creative Commons 2009 by Vincent Wm Uher III,
reprint permission granted with author attribution.

The Feast of Corpus Christi or Corpus Domini is observed on the first Thursday following Trinity Sunday i.e., the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.  The hymn above is one I hope someone somewhere will use this June 15th or the Sunday following. Please share it with your director of music at your parish or with your priest or minister.  My part of the text is under Creative Commons which makes its reproduction and use very easy for any parish, choir, or household.  

First a bit of historical background on the hymn printed above:

Jeffrey Tucker expressed a desire for the tune 'Rendez-a-Dieu' to receive a fully Catholic text.  The first verse of 'Bread of the world in mercy broken' by Reginald Heber is beautiful and well known.  

Unfortunately, the Heber hymn text as it appears today in hymnals is a posthumous one finished by a Protestant friend who did not share Heber's perspective on the Eucharistic theology.  

Being asked to try to do something with the text, I kept the one verse that was clearly by Reginald Heber.  I provided three verses that would echo the 'official' version found in many hymnals but would speak in terms fully acceptable for Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics.  

When printed with the tune 'RENDEZ-A-DIEU' the text appears as though it is two verses in length though it consists for four verses.  

The following is a .jpg image file. Click on the hymn below to see it in larger format. You may, dear Reader, need to double click on the image and then resize it if you wish to print it out.

I have been asked about the line "here too the tears by Mary shed".  In one respect at the Holy Sacrifice we are united with heaven and are present at the Lord's own sacrifice... present with the Blessed Mother, Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint John the Beloved... present then the tears of Mary shed over Jesus' suffering and death.