In which I only begin to understand Panis Angelicus

by Craig on January 18, 2014

It’s a most indelibly memorable song.
But the words…the words…
and the depth of the meaning.



The translation from the Latin of Panis Angelicus only begins to unlock its mysteries.

To truly get this hymn is to never hear it again without the heart falling to its knees.

To truly get this hymn I need to understand it as you, Thomas Aquinas, wrote it.

To get that I have to immerse myself in your Latin…
I have to delve into the fields from which you formed your thoughts…


…and heart.

Now, with this hymn sewn into my heart I am driven to know it…

Panis Angelicus once written on the heart changes everythging


every seam…
each cut, form, stitch…
all its curves, holes, fringes…

it’s key.

What is the bread of Angels?
What is the bread of Heaven?
What is the bread of humanity?

Is all of that different, the same, or something else?

What are angels anyway?
What did Aquinas think they were?

And “bread”? Is it substance, symbol, or Eucharist, or more?

How does the unchangeable God “become” anything?

What is the mystery inside the Latin word, “dat”…
three letters as pregnant with meaning as a water balloon near to burst?

How does bread of heaven, once given, end symbols? What symbols? All symbols?

What does it mean to “partake” of the Lord?

Does “poor” mean poor?
Does “servant” mean servant?
And “humble”, what does that mean?

Can I be rich…
be a slave to no one…
be exultant in that position…
and still partake of Our Lord?

        Panis Angelicus.

So far to go…
only just beginning.
I hope you enjoy the ride.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando January 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

So very moving, Craig, both the song and translated lyrics. Absolutely made my day! Thank you for sharing, my friend.
Blessings always!


Craig January 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Martha, thank you. I’m a little behind on responding to comments. The way things are right now it’s a challenge just to put words on the screen (2 COR 4:8) But you are valued, to me, to God. I think the next step is to explain how I got my translation, and to double check to make sure the translation is correct –Then start answering my questions. You have always been a blessing to me my friend. Thank you.God Bless.


Layla Payton January 19, 2014 at 11:31 pm





Craig January 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm

You! ˆ⌣ˆ ‏

Me, not happy, but joy, still have that, faith still have that, (2Cor 4:8)


Katie January 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Sounds like God is filling your heart with HIS words through this hymn. Beautiful!


Craig January 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Katie, the night during the Christmas season that I fell in love with this hymn, it hit my spirit before I even knew the translation to English. And once I looked up that translation online, without translating it myself, it DID bring me to my knees. There is magic in this hymn. And you have it – my heart is being filled with HIS words through this hymn. It sure isn’t me. It’s Aquinas, and through Aquinas, I think we both believe it to be God – not me – God. Less of me. More of him. (2 Cor 4:8) God bless Katie!


Michelle January 21, 2014 at 4:08 am
A. January 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

Craig, your questions…I am eager to learn what you share with us about those. I heart your questions, and the lyrics! Blessings to you as you continue to move forward, one day at a time, one step followed by another.

Sometimes the new day begins to dawn where we don’t expect it, or in a way or ways that we don’t expect. I pray for your new day to dawn, and for strength and encouragement and hope until it does. Blessings to you, friend!


nancy January 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Whoa…thank you, my Friend, for not disappearing forever. so glad to read you this day. really couldn’t believe my eyes at first, so glad i wasn’t just seeing things. gives me such hope. thank you…


Craig January 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm


…..almost disappeared

….thankful for you

…smiling now


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