Hidden Deity I adore you avowedly

The hymn “Adoro te devote” is one of the five beautiful hymns that Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote in honor of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament for the feast of Corpus Christi. Pope Urban IV (1261-1264) commissioned both Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure to write the prayers for this Eucharistic feast.

adore te devote

Saint Bonaventure, when he read the hymns of Saint Thomas, tore up his own work and conceded that Saint Thomas’ prayers were superior. The Catholic Church has used these prayers  of Saint Thomas Aquinas ever since.

Below is my own translation of Saint Thomas’ Adoro te devote from the original Latin.

Please feel free to print it out and use it, if you like.

“Hidden Deity”

Taylor Marshall’s version of Adoro te devote

Hidden Deity I adore you avowedly
beneath these figures truly here
to you my heart enslaves itself
because wondering at you the totality collapses

Eye, finger, tongue fail to sense you
but the trusty ear alone believes
the Son of God speaks: that I believe
that word of Truth most truly

Deity alone hidden on the cross
yet here likewise hides humanity
both I believe, both I affirm
sorrowfully, I seek what the good thief sought

I can’t see your wounds with the eyes of Saint Thomas
But I believe in you My God
make me ever to trust in you
never to despair, ever to love

Memorial to the Death of the Master
Bread alive giving vitality to humanity
allow my soul to live out of you
and ever to taste that sweetness

You Pious Pelican, Jesus Christ
bleeding your blood, clean the unclean
in one drop rests the entire world
being saved from each nasty crime

Now I gaze on the veiled and concealed Jesus
let my thirsty prayer come to pass
that at least perceiving your unveiled face
I may be joyful of your glory

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  • Chris Baker

    Nice translation of this hymn. I’d guess that you’d prefer this to be silently read and to be not sung as a hymn? Or perhaps you imagined that your translation should be through-composed?

    I’ve always loved the Pie Pelicane stanza, and I like what you’ve done with it.

    • http://cantuar.blogspot.com Dr. Taylor Marshall

      It could not be sung as a hymn, but it could be chanted.

  • mary

    Wow.Powerful words. And I never knew what they were till you translated them. Thank you.That’s the thing about Latin. It sounds beautiful but you don’t know what youu are saying. Sad. I do know latin, having studied it for two years in high school, but your English translation is much more powerful.

    • http://cantuar.blogspot.com Dr. Taylor Marshall

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you liked it.

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