Another excerpt from Forming Intentional Discples:
In the twenty-first century, we know “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” as one of the most ancient of Christ- mas carols. Ancient it is, but a carol it most certainly is not.
It was written seventeen centuries ago as a Greek chant of Eucharistic devotion within the Liturgy of St. James. Read the powerful words of this chant with the Eucharist in mind. Or better still, in the Presence of the Eucharist.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At his feet the six-winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia,
Lord Most High!
Nothing could be further from the numb, bored passivity with which many of us, myself included, have often routinely received the Eucharist.