The Feast of Corpus Christi includes the longest “sequence,” or liturgical poem, in the entire year. It is called the Lauda Sion, composed by Thomas Aquinas in 1264, and contains almost a complete course in Eucharistic theology in verse. I prayed the hymn myself at the altar, then listened to our choir sing it again from my chair. Several jewels flashed out from the 800-year-old text, but this one struck me in a particularly beautiful way, from the 21st stanza:
Ecce panis Angelórum, Behold the bread of angels,
Factus cibus viatórum: made the bread of pilgrims:
The food that sustains angels in the aeviternal empyrean is given to … “travelers.” We on earth, bound by time and place, are described as people who move. We love to travel because we were designed to move. We’ve legs and feet and cardio-vascular systems designed for motion. Our bodies are superhighways of blood and cells and neuropathways in constant motion. We have an innate desire to go somewhere. “Come sail away with me” the song beckons. The worst of all fates is to be trapped in a box, to be inactive, to be locked down, unable to move.
We are “viatores,” people designed for move down a via, a “way.” It’s a common question of small talk: “where are you going this year? What trips do you have planned? Where are you taking your vacation this year?” But the question is actually not so small. Why do I want to travel, and what is the purpose of all my movement? Where am I going, finally? Nothing is designed without a purpose. We are designed for locomotion in order to reach a destination.