"Adoro te devote" is a prayer written by Thomas Aquinas.[1] Unlike hymns which were composed and set to music for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV for the entire Latin Church[2] of the Catholic Church, it was not written for a liturgical function and appears in no liturgical texts of the period; some scholars believe that it was written by the friar for private use at Mass.[3] The text has since been incorporated into public worship as a hymn.

The authorship of the hymn by Thomas Aquinas was previously doubted by some scholars.[4] More recent scholarship has put such doubts to rest.[5] Thomas seems to have used it also as a private prayer, for a daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.[5]

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 Roman Missal published in 1570 following the Council of Trent (1545–1563).

The hymn is still sung today, though its use is optional in the post-Vatican II ordinary form.

Text and literal translation

Latin text Literal English translation
Adoro te devote, latens deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subicit,
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[6] verius.
In Cruce[6] 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:[6]
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, hidden deity,
Who are truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to You,
because in contemplating You, it is fully deficient.
Sight, touch, taste all fail 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 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,
clean me, the unclean, with Your Blood,
One drop of which can heal
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[7] 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".[7] This does not affect the overall meaning of the lines or stanzas so that "either variant may be legitimately used according to local custom."[7]

Poetic English translations

There have been at least 16 significant English translations of Adoro te devote, reflecting its popularity as a prayer and hymn,[8] including versions by Edward Bouverie Pusey, Edward Caswall, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.[9][10][11] There are also several popular hymns such as "Humbly We Adore Thee," which employ the 13th century Benedictine plainsong melody, but use modern texts not related to the Latin text.[12]

Liturgical use

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.

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.

There are modern musical settings and arrangements by Alexandre Guilmant (Offertoire sur Adoro te devote for organ, 1908), Cecilia McDowall (2016), Carlo Pedini (2021) and Healey Willan (chorale prelude, 1954).

Final prayer

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.

On 13 December 1849, Pope Pius IX stated a period of 3 years of indulgence.[13] Partial indulgence[14] remains in force even after the suppression of the prayer from the 1969 missal.

See also


  1. ^ Christopher Howse, 'Not a hymn but a personal poem,'. The Telegraph. 17 Jan 2015. retrieved 5 Nov 2015.
  2. ^ The Feast of Corpus Christi by Barbara R. Walters, published by Penn State Press, 2007 ISBN 0-271-02924-2 page 12
  3. ^ Murray, Paul (2013). Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism, and Poetry. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 240–241. ISBN 9781441107558.
  4. ^ Torrell, Jean-Pierre (2005). Saint Thomas Aquinas: the person and his work. CUA Press. ISBN 9780813214238.
  5. ^ a b Murray, Paul (10 October 2013). Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism and Poetry. A&C Black. ISBN 9781441107558.
  6. ^ a b c Schola Cantorum Mediolanensis. Video with music sheet with Latin text and trigram notation. youtube (in Latin). Mikan. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2018., at the points: 1:10, 2:00, 3:46 minutes
  7. ^ a b c E. McNamara (23 May 2010). "The Adoro te Devote and more on blue vestments". zenit.org. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  8. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia 1917, Adoro te devote. retrieved 5 Nov 2015
  9. ^ mjmselim (30 July 2017). "Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas of Christ the Savior". REFLECTIONS. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  10. ^ Caswall, Edward (1873). Hymns and Poems, Original and Translated. Burns, Oates & Company. adoro te devote.
  11. ^ Hopkins, Gerard Manley (1990). The Poetical Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Oxford. pp. 111–12.
  12. ^ "Adoro Te Devote", Hymnary
  13. ^ Giuseppe Riva, Manuale di Filotea, Milan, 1901, pag. 206
  14. ^ Manuale delle indulgenze (Indulgences' Handbook) n. 4. Cited in Prayers & liturgical songs. New edition 2020. Ares. 2021. p. 74. ISBN 978-88-9298-053-2.