Thursday, June 23, 2011
For the Adoro Te Devote By St. Thomas Aquinas
Today we celebrate the Body of Christ. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote a chant that is beautiful in Latin, and beautifully translated into English by Gerald Manly Hopkins, S.J. (poet extraordinaire).
Elegant and clean, it points to the signal fact that Faith in a hidden God is what we are called to. For in the words of the prophet, "truly you are a hidden God," though one whom we are allowed also to physically perceive in the Eucharist.
Christ said "I am the Bread of Life" and "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." "In a little while, you will see me no more," and yet thankfully, "I will be with you always."
Pondering these mysteries, St. Thomas penned this chant. Here is the English translation:
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore
Masked by these bare shadows, faith and nothing more.
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? That shall be believed.
What God’s Son hath told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly, or there’s nothing true.
On the Cross thy Godhead made no sign to men.
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken;
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.
And what prayer is that? A simple and powerful one.
Remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.