A Motet for Holy Thursday: Ave Verum

Don’t know how well-known this gem is, but it’s one of my favorites: Ave Verum by Colin Mawby, former master of music at Westminster Cathedral, London.

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.
O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie,
O Iesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.

Hail, true Body, born
of the Virgin Mary,
who, having truly suffered, was sacrificed
on the cross for humankind,
whose pierced side
flowed with water and blood:
may it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
in the trial of death.
O sweet Jesus, O holy Jesus,
O Jesus, son of Mary,
have mercy on me. Amen.



  1. The interesting question about esto is that there is no satisfactory equivalent for the future imperative active of esse in English. “May it be” is perhaps the best approximation, but it is nevertheless approximate by necessity. esto takes an imperative force. The praegustatum is not a vague possibility but a sure hope.

    Blessed Easter and octave.

  2. Jordan,

    “Be for us” is a perfectly fine English translation of “esto nobis” and is an imperative.

    Happy Easter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *