Sunday, May 29, 2005

"Devoutly I Adore Thee"


In keeping with the day, here is another Eucharistic work by St. Thomas, called Adoro te Devote. The translation is the best one, one by the English poet Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (go Jesuits!). Of all the stanzas, the second one is my favorite. The line that it ends with may be one of the finest in all of Latin poetry. When I read the fourth, I have to wonder if Thomas was playing around, even just a little, when he wrote "I am not like Thomas". One of life's great mysteries, I suppose. Given the impersonal style of his writings, its unlikely that it is, although given that it is poetry and not purely scholarly, there is perhaps a slight chance.

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape 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 has 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.

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran---
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory's sight.

+Ad Majorem Dei Gloram+
"The opinion of those who say with regard to the truth of faith that it is a matter of complete indifference what one thinks about creation, provided one has a true interpretation of God[...] is notoriously false. For an error about creation is reflected in a false opinion about God."
-St. Thomas Aquinas


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