On the Catholic Priesthood
The Priest and the Altar
Enough the blood of victims flowed of old,
The shadows pass, and legal offerings;
Now higher Ministries, Thou, Lord, dost mold,
On which a holier shade Thy Priesthood flings.
Elias from the Heavens called down the flame;
One Greater than Elias, hid from sight,
Is here, obedient to His awful Name;
Of Him we make the dread memorial Rite.
Great Office, the mysterious Cup to bear,
In which the guilty world’s Salvation lies,
And with our trembling hands, full of deep fear,
To offer up the Bloodless Sacrifice.
Oh, more than all to ancient Prophets given,
More than to Angels, if but understood,
That in our trembling hands the God of Heaven
Doth give Himself to be our Spirits’ Food.
Grant, Christ, that we, fulfilling Thy Commands,
Of Thy blest Presence may approach the Seat,
With hearts by Thee made pure, and holy hands;
May love for Thy dread Altars make us meet.
Son of th’Eternal Father, God above,
May all the world beneath Thy Feet adore,
Who sendest down the Spirit, with Thy Love
Thy Priesthood to anoint for evermore.
Source: Lyra Eucharistica : hymns and verses on the Holy Communion, ancient and modern ; with other poems by Shipley, Orby, 1832-1916