Adoro te devote

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"Adoro te devote" is a Eucharistic hymn written by Thomas Aquinas.[1] "Adoro te devote" is one of the five Eucharistic hymns, which were composed and set to music for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV as a Solemnity for the entire Roman Catholic Church.

Since the beginning of its composition and it being set to music, the "Adoro te devote" was chanted as an Eucharistic Hymn during the Saint Mass in honorem SS. Sacramenti (in honour of the Most Blessed Sacrament), as it was written in the Latin manuscripts. So it was also chanted for the Eucharistic adoration.

Strictly speaking, Aquinas seems to have used it also as a private prayer, for a daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

The "Adoro te devote" is one of the medieval poetic compositions, being used as spoken prayers and also as chanted hymns, which were preserved in the Missale Romanum published in 1570 following the Council of Trent (1545–1563).

The "Adoro te devote" is still sung today, though its use is optional in the post-Vatican II ordinary form.

Text and literal translation[edit]

Latin text literal English translation
Adoro te devote, latens deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.
Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo Veritátis[2] verius.
In Cruce[2] latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et Humanitas,
Ambo tamen credens atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro pœnitens.
Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor:
Deum tamen meum te confiteor.
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.
O memoriale mortis Domini,
Panis vivus, vitam præstans homini,
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.
Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo Sanguine[2] :
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.
Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ. Amen.
I devoutly adore you, o hidden God,
Truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to You,
And in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely.
Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of you,
But hearing suffices firmly to believe.
I believe all that the Son of God has spoken;
There is nothing truer than this word of Truth.
On the cross only the divinity was hidden,
But here the humanity is also hidden.
Yet believing and confessing both,
I ask for what the penitent thief asked.
I do not see the Holy Wounds as Thomas did,
But I confess that You are my God.
Make me believe much more in You,
Hope in you, and love You.
O memorial of our Lord's death,
Living Bread that gives life to man,
Grant my soul to live on You,
And always to savor your sweetness.
Lord Jesus, Good Pelican,
wash my filthiness and clean me with Your Blood,
One drop of which can free
the entire world of all its sins.
Jesus, whom now I see hidden,
I ask You to fulfill what I so desire:
That the sight of Your Face being unveiled
I may have the happiness of seeing Your glory. Amen.

There are two[3] variant readings of the Latin text, with slightly different nuances to some of the words: "most of the variations occur in the first two verses. The substitution of the words "posset omni scélere" in place of "quit ab omni scélere" in the second-to-last verse and "cupio" for "sitio" in the closing one are practically the only other changes"[3]. This does not affect the overall meaning of the lines or stanzas so that "either variant may be legitimately used according to local custom."[3]

Poetic English translations[edit]

There have been at least 16 significant English translations of the Adoro te devote, reflecting its popularity as a prayer and hymn.[4] The following is one recently inspired translation.

I devoutly adore You, masquerading Deity
Veiled beneath all appearance
My whole heart submits to You
And in contemplating You, surrenders without reservation
Sight, touch, and taste are all deceived in approaching You
But hearing suffices to firmly believe
I trust all that the Son of God has spoken
There is nothing truer than the word of Truth
On the cross divinity was hidden from view
But here humanity was revealed
Yet believing and confessing both
I ask for what the penitent thief asked
Thy wounds, as Thomas saw, I do not see
But I confess that You are my God
Make me believe much more in You
In the hope of Your Love
O memorial of Christ
Living Bread that gives life to man
Take my spirit into Your hand
Forevermore to savor Your sweetness
Lord Jesus; Good Pelican
Wash my filthiness and cleanse me with Your blood
One drop of which can free
The entire world of all its sins
Precious Jesus; veiled from sight
I ask You to fulfill what I so earnestly desire,
That the sight of Your face be unveiled
That I may have the joy of seeing Your glory

Additional translations, with their opening line, are as follows:

John O'Hagan (1822–1890) Hidden God, devoutly I adore thee

Liturgical use[edit]

This hymn was added to the Roman Missal in 1570 by Pope Pius V, and also it has more quotations in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1381).

This Eucharistic hymn was generally chanted with a genuflection in front of the Blessed Sacrament, which is Jesus Christ God, the Lord and the Saviour, the Saint King, King of Israel and King of Kings.

It was much more like than what is written in the Bible for the Sanctus, something generally chanted in Heaven by the angelic hierarchies.

The hymn is typically used as an Eucharistic hymn and is sung either during the distribution of communion at Mass, or during the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Final prayer[edit]

Until the first half of the nineteenth century, the (Eucharistic) chant Adoro Te devote was often used to be followed by this second Thanksgiving prayer, referred to Jesus Christ God:

Obsecro Te, sancte Domine Jesu
Christe, ut passio tua sit mihi virtus
qua muniar atque defendar,
vulnera tua sit mihi cibus potusque
quibus pascar, inebrier atque delecter;
aspersio sanguinis tui sit mihi ablutio
omnium delictorum meorum;
resurrectio tua sit mihi gloria
sempiterna. In his sit mihi refectio,
exultatio sanitas et dulcedo
cordis mei. Qui vivis et regnas in
unitate Patri et Spiritus Sancti Deus
per omnia saecula saeculorum.

The 13 December 1849, Pope Pius IX stated a period of some days of indulgence in favour of any Christian people having declaimed this prayer.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christopher Howse, 'Not a hymn but a personal poem,'. The Telegraph. 17 Jan 2015. retrieved 5 Nov 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Schola Cantorum Mediolanensis. Video with music sheet with Latin text and trigram notation. youtube (in Latin). Mikan. Retrieved 2 August 2018., at the points: 1:10, 2:00, 3:46 minutes
  3. ^ a b c E. McNamara (23 May 2010). "The Adoro te Devote and more on blue vestments". Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  4. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia 1917, "Adoro te devote". retrieved 5 Nov 2015
  5. ^ Giuseppe Riva, Manuale di Filotea, Milano, 1860, pag. 213


External links[edit]