Adoro Te devote
is a Eucharistic hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas. It is one of the five Eucharistic hymns composed and set to music for the
Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which was instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV. The hymn is sung during the Benediction
service; when recited, it has a plenary indulgence of three years, under the usual conditions
and when recited for an entire month (1).
In the hymn, Our Lord is referred to as a "Loving Pelican." The pelican was a common medieval symbol of Our Lord
since it was believed to feed and revive its young by giving them blood from its breast, as Our Lord gives us His own Flesh
and Blood, truly present in the Eucharist.
Dom Guéranger explains the history and devotion behind this chant:
"A great solemnity has this day risen upon our earth: a feast both to God and to men: for it is the feast of Christ the Mediator [the Feast of Corpus Christi], who is present in the Sacred Host, that God may be given to man, and man to God ... (2)
"In his exquisite hymn, Adoro Te devote, St. Thomas Aquinas says: 'On the Cross the Divinity alone was hid; but here the Humanity, too, is hid'; and yet, on no day of the year is the Church more triumphant or more demonstrative, than
she is upon this feast ... (3)
"It is hard to say which of the two predominates in these verses, the theological science of the Saint, or his humble and glowing love. But when the tabernacle-door closes upon Jesus in His Holy Sacrament, our hearts will still continue with Him ... More than ever, for the future, will we love and reverence the Banquet which is, and produces, all that we have been considering during these days [of the feast of Corpus Christi]: we know so much better now, than formerly, the perfections of Eternal Wisdom, who has given Himself to us in the Eucharist; we will let Him guide us into all grace and truth." (4)
Adoro te devote is here interpreted by the Spanish Monks of the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos. Note: only verses 1, 3, and 7 are sung in this recording.
Listen to Adoro te devote
1. Adoro te devote, latens deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.
2. Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo Veritátis verius.
3. In Cruce latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et Humanitas,
Ambo tamen credens atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro pœnitens.
4. Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor:
Deum tamen meum te confiteor.
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.
5. O memoriale mortis Domini,
Panis vivus, vitam præstans homini,
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.
6. Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo Sanguine:
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.
7. Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ.
English translation (5):
1. I devoutly adore Thee, O hidden Deity,
Who truly liest concealed under these forms:
To thee my whole heart subjects itself,
Because in contemplating Thee, it is fully deficient.
2. Sight, touch, taste, tell us not of Thy presence,
But hearing alone may be fully believed.
I believe whatsoever the Son of God has spoken;
Nothing is more true than this word of truth.
3. Upon the Cross the divinity alone was concealed;
But here the humanity also lies hidden:
But I believe and confess them both,
And I ask for what the penitent thief asked.
4. I see not Thywounds, as Thomas did;
Yet do I confess Thee to be my God.
Grant that I may believe in Thee more and more,
And place my hope in Thee, and love Thee.
5. O memorial of my Lord's death,
Living Bread that givest life to man:
Grant that my soul may ever live on Thee,
And may ever relish Thy sweetness.
6. Loving Pelican; Jesus Lord,
Cleanse me, an unclean sinner, with Thy Blood,
One drop whereof could save
The whole world from all its guilt.
7. Jesus, whom I now see beneath a veil,
I pray, let that be done, for which I do so thirst:
That, by the sight of Thine unveiled Face,
I may have the happiness of seeing Thy glory. Amen.
For a high-resolution JPG of this chant, click here.