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.
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.
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