Eucharistic Encounter 31: Adoro Te Devote

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky in the Chapel of the Proclamation in Lincolnshire, Illinois. It took us three years to build this chapel, and we have Mass here every day.

Today we continue our series of Eucharistic Encounters with another hidden gem from the Mass. They shouldn’t be secrets, but not enough people know about them – they’re beautiful prayers composed by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century.  One for himself, one for the Corpus Christi Mass, and the other two for the Corpus Christi Liturgy, known as the Divine Office.

We’re talking about the prayer he composed for himself for daily meditation on the Holy Eucharist today, known as the “Adoro Te Devote.” You can find it for free on the Relevant Radio app, in English and in Latin. It’ll translate for you!

The Adoro Te Devote goes like this in Latin – and it rhymes:

Adóro te devóte, látens Déitas, 

Quæ sub his figúris, vere látitas: 

Tibi se cor meum totum súbjicit, 

Quia, te contémplans, totum déficit.

The translation in English goes like this:  

O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee,  

Who truly art within the forms before me 

To thee my heart I bow with bended knee 

As failing quite in contemplating Thee.

We can’t possibly fully comprehend the great miracle of the Holy Eucharist! The Dogma of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 AD defined this miracle as the transubstantiation: the substance of the bread and wine have been changed into the reality of God Himself – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – really, truly, substantially present.

I like the second stanza the best. It goes like this:

Visus, tactus, gustus, in te fállitur, 

Sed audítu solo tuto créditur: 

Credo quidquid díxit Dei Fílius; 

Nil hoc verbo veritátis vérius.

“Visus” is sight, “tactus” touch, “gustus” taste. It translates like this:

Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived, 

The ear alone most safely is believed: 

I believe all the Son of God has spoken;  

Than Truth’s own word, there is no truer token.

After Vatican II, while there was still immense confusion in the Church as to what the Council would mean, St. Josemaría Escriva recommended that all members of his newly-founded Opus Dei sing or pray the Adoro Te Devote once a week on Thursdays. Then, they were to spend a half-hour meditating on it. It’s been a great blessing to me, and I think it will be a great blessing to you.

I invite you to discover it on the Relevant Radio app today, in English and in Latin, for free. Find a quiet place, maybe in a church, and think about it. It will help you deepen your faith in the Holy Eucharist.

I hope I’ll see you at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, July 17-21. You can learn about it at Let’s all show up for Jesus.

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Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.