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 Deity,
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 table contains three translations by significant English speaking poets and hymn writers.

Edward Bouverie Pusey translation Edward Caswall translation Gerard Manley Hopkins translation
Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen,
Who Thy glory hidest 'neath these shadows mean;
Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.
Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;
Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate'er the Son of God hath told;
What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.
On the Cross lay hidden but thy Deity,
Here is hidden also Thy Humanity:
But in both believing and confessing, Lord,
Ask I what the dying thief of Thee implored.
Thy dread wounds, like Thomas, though I cannot see,
His be my confession, Lord and God, of Thee,
Make my faith unfeigned ever-more increase,
Give me hope unfading, love that cannot cease.
O memorial wondrous of the Lord's own death;
Living Bread, that giveth all Thy creatures breath,
Grant my spirit ever by Thy life may live,
To my taste Thy sweetness never-failing give.
Pelican of mercy, Jesus, Lord and God,
Cleanse me, wretched sinner, in Thy Precious Blood:
Blood where one drop for human-kind outpoured
Might from all transgression have the world restored.
Jesus, whom now veiled, I by faith descry,
What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny,
That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,
With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee. Amen.
O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee,
Who truly art within the forms before me;
To Thee my heart I bow with bended knee,
As failing quite in contemplating Thee.
Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived;
The ear alone most safely is believed:
I believe all the Son of God has spoken,
Than Truth's own word there is no truer token.
God only on the Cross lay hid from view;
But here lies hid at once the Manhood too:
And I, in both professing my belief,
Make the same prayer as the repentant thief.
Thy wounds, as Thomas saw, I do not see;
Yet Thee confess my Lord and God to be:
Make me believe Thee ever more and more;
In Thee my hope, in Thee my love to store.
O thou Memorial of our Lord's own dying!
O Bread that living art and vivifying!
Make ever Thou my soul on Thee to live;
Ever a taste of Heavenly sweetness give.
O loving Pelican! O Jesu, Lord!
Unclean I am, but cleanse me in Thy Blood;
Of which a single drop, for sinners spilt,
Is ransom for a world's entire guilt.
Jesu! Whom for the present veil'd I see,
What I so thirst for, O vouchsafe to me:
That I may see Thy countenance unfolding,
And may be blest Thy glory in beholding. Amen.
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.
On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.
I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.
O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.
Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran—
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory’s sight. Amen.[5]

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 13th December 1849, Pope Pio IX stated a period of some days of indulgence in favour of any Christian people having declaimed this prayer.[6]

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 Aug 2, 2018. , at the points: 1:10, 2:00, 3:46 minutes
  3. ^ a b c E. McNamara (May 23, 2010). "The Adoro te Devote and more on blue vestments". Retrieved Aug 2, 2018. 
  4. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia 1917, "Adoro te devote". retrieved 5 Nov 2015
  5. ^ Adoro te devote, two versions and a translation retrieved 5 Nov 2015
  6. ^ Giuseppe Riva, Manuale di Filotea, Milano, 1860, pag. 213


External links[edit]