Catholic Activity: Hymn: Adoro Te Devote - Hidden God
“Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore; masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more.” The text to this hymn of thanksgiving and adoration belongs to St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), and its most famous English translation to Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). The chant itself is of unknown origin from the first millennium. It is brighter and lighter than many chants, with a smooth and lyrical line of four easy phrases, with a swell in the third phrase that provides quiet drama while never losing its discipline.
Aquinas is said to have written this text at the request of Pope Urban IV for the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1264. This chant is often used as a prayer of thanksgiving after Mass, though it is suitable for any time of focus on the Blessed Sacrament. The Hopkins translation is beautiful; consider the last line of the third verse: “Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.” But it cannot compare to the lyric quality of Aquinas’s Latin: “Nil hoc verbo veritatis verius.”
Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Que 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 Veritatis verius.
In cruce latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et humanitas:
Ambo tamen credens, atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro poenitens.
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 praestans homini:
Praesta meae menti de te vivere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.
Pie pellicane, Jesu domine,
Me immundum munda tuo sanguine:
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 beatus tuae gloriae. Amen.
Hidden God, devoutly I adore Thee,
Truly present underneath these veils:
All my heart subdues itself before Thee,
Since it all before Thee faints and fails.
Not to sight, or taste, or touch be credit,
Hearing only do we trust secure;
I believe, for God the Son hath said it–
Word of Truth that ever shall endure.
On the Cross was veiled Thy Godhead's splendor,
Here Thy manhood lieth hidden too;
Unto both alike my faith I render,
And, as sued the contrite thief, I sue.
Though I look not on Thy wounds with Thomas,
Thee, my Lord, and Thee, my God, I call:
Make me more and more believe Thy promise,
Hope in Thee, and love Thee over all.
O Memorial of my Saviour dying,
Living Bread that givest life to man;
May my soul, its life from Thee supplying,
Taste Thy sweetness, as on earth it can.
Deign, O Jesus, pelican* of heaven,
Me, a sinner, in Thy Blood to lave,
To a single drop of which is given
All the world from all its sin to save.
Contemplating Lord, Thy hidden presence,
Grant me what I thirst for and implore,
In the revelation of Thine essence
To behold Thy glory evermore.
Activity Source: Crisis Magazine