Quantum potes tantum aude
This is a line in the sequence Lauda Sion, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
“However so much as you are capable of doing, dare to do that much.”
More smoothly, “Dare to do as much as you can accomplish”.
Yesterday I was in St. Paul, MN, and participated in the Corpus Christi procession at the Cathedral of St. Paul, perhaps the grandest Catholic Cathedral in the USA. The builders of that church understood Quantum potes tantum aude.
The new Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Most Rev. John Neinstedt said in his sermon during Exposition that Corpus Christi should not be celebrated without a procession.
Anecdote: One day in May I was hanging around outside the Paul VI audience hall (Vatican) during a plenary of the Italian Bishops Conference waiting for my bishop to emerge, chating with fellow journalists and the bishops’ drivers and secretaries a couple bishops who had simply fled the hall in desparate boredom. I had just been to a Eucharistic procession the day before held by the Teutonic College that went through the Vatican gardens, Swiss Guards carrying the canopy, … stunning. Deep in his chest this one old bishop rumbled “Meno chiacchiere – più processioni. … Less jabbering – more processions.”
The tide of anti-devotional madness is passing away. The days of sneering critics of Eucharistic devotion are over. No longer will we hear, as I did in seminary in the 1980’s, “Jesus said ‘Take and eat, not sit and look!’”, as if “looking” was opposed to “receiving”.
I am hearing from many people that Eucharistic devotion is on the rise.
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict had changed the conversation. He has set in motion his “Marshall Plan” to reinvigorate our Catholic identity especially through a shift in liturgical awareness and practice. Liturgy is, after all, the tip of the spear. Summorum Pontificum is exerting its gravitational pull on liturgical worship. A new wave of Catholics desire all that Holy Church has to offer. Our world needs an encounter with Mystery in the midst of ever more difficult challenges.
Taking Jesus into the streets must be both figurative and literal.
Perhaps if some of you readers care to take the effort, you might send me some of your Corpus Christi photos. If they are usable, I will do my best to post them in a timely manner.
Please attach the photos to your e-mails, or I will have a hard time working with them.
In the meantime, here is yesterday’s Procession making its way up the hill toward the Cathedral of St. Paul, which looms high above the downtown district.
And the Archbishop incensing the Blessed Sacrament.
Quantum potes tantum aude
The forces which worked for decades to diminish these devotions – doesn’t it seem as if they always sought to make Christ smaller somehow? – have faded in influence.
That doesn’t mean that we will be able to build back everything in a day.
In many places it take a lot of hard work to organize a first Eucharistic procession ever… or in many years.
Thus, not ever procession can immediately look like what the Holy Father has in Rome, or what the Institute of Christ the King may have at some grand church they have remodeled.
We must work patiently, brick by brick.