“Sign and Reality”

By Tom Quiner

What hymn was more fitting than Panis Angelicus?

Yesterday was my mother-in-law’s Mass of Christian burial. She died a week ago. As I recounted before, she was defined by her love of Holy Eucharist. So, of course, we sang this beautiful text at her funeral Mass with a music setting by the 19th century Belgian Jesuit composer, Louis Lambillotte.

The text is by St. Thomas Aquinas. It is worth contemplating.

God IS love.

This is how the Catholic Church views God. I think many of our Protestant brothers and sisters have the same view.

In other words, love isn’t just a character trait of God, he’s not just a “loving” entity, rather He is the embodiment of love.

God IS love.

Eucharist is the heart and soul of the Catholic Mass. “Panis Angelicus” was sung as the communion hymn in honor of Mom’s love of Holy Eucharist. Even more, it is a prayer that focuses the congregation’s reverence on the profound Gift they are about to receive:

Latin Text

Panis Angelicus fit panis hominum
Dat panis coelicus figuris terminum
O res mirabilis! Manducat Dominum
Pauper, pauper, servus et humilis
Pauper, pauper, servus et humilis

English Translation

Holy and living bread, wondrous food from heaven sent.
God’s sacrifice foretold, now in our hands we hold,
Sign and reality, challenge for us to be
humble servants to all the poor.

God pours out His love into our bodies when we consume this angelic bread. Thank-you, Jesus!

Then, to hear such a lovely hymn only heightens the experience. Many composers have set St. Thomas’ lyrics to music. Cesar Franck’s is perhaps the more popular setting, but I like Lambillotte’s as well. You can listen to it above.

This poor and humble servant has been nourished by the bread of angels, which is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

I have tasted Love.


  1. Tiffinay Compiano on May 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Beautiful Tom! Such an appropriate way to celebrate Karen’s mothers journey to heaven, by glorifying God!

    • quinersdiner on May 23, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Thank-you, Tiffinay.

  2. Tom Maly on May 23, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Amen, Thomas, It is so!!!

  3. encourage the faithful on May 25, 2015 at 7:47 am

    Thank you, Tom, for sharing your heart-felt reflections. I am sorry for your wife’s (and your) loss. May God bless and keep your mother-in law. We are all blessed by the richness of our experiences with our Messiah and His Church.

    • quinersdiner on May 25, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Thanks so much, Barbie, we both appreciate it.