THREE HYMNS FOR CORPUS CHRISTI, also ADORO TE DEVOTE, and TANTUM ERGO
Below are three hymns composed by St. Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Google any one of them on YouTube, to hear them sung. Adoro Te Devote was also composed as a Eucharistic Hymn by him, as was the Tantum Ergo (the last verses of Pange Lingua, a hymn used on Holy Thursday Evening, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.)
PANIS ANGELICUS: (Part of a hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi)
Panis Angelicus fit panis hominum
Dat panis coelicus figuris terminum
O res mirabilis! Manducat Dominum
Pauper, pauper, servus et humilis
Pauper, pauper, servus et humilis
The angel’s bread becomes the bread of men
The heavenly bread ends all symbols
Oh, miraculous thing! The body of the Lord
Will nourish the poor, poor, and humble servant
The poor, poor, and humble servant
O SACRUM CONVIVIUM: O Sacrum Convivium is a Latin prose text honoring the Blessed Sacrament. It was written by Saint Thomas Aquinas. It was included in the Latin Catholic liturgy as an antiphon on the feast of Corpus Christi. Its sentiments express the profound mystery of the Eucharistic miracle: “O sacred banquet at which Christ is consumed, the memory of his Passion is recalled, our souls are filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given to us.”
O sacrum convivium!
in quo Christus sumitur:
recolitur memoria passionis eius:
mens impletur gratia:
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.
Translation of original Latin
O sacred banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.
O SALUTARIS HOSTIA, “O Saving Host”, is a section of one of the Eucharistic hymns written by St Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
O salutaris Hostia,
Quae caeli pandis ostium:
Bella premunt hostilia,
Da robur, fer auxilium.
Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria,
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.
O saving Victim, opening wide
The gate of Heaven to us below;
Our foes press hard on every side;
Your aid supply; Your strength bestow.
To your great name be endless praise,
Immortal Godhead, One in Three.
O grant us endless length of days,
In our true native land with thee.
O Salutary Victim,
Who opens the door of the sky,
Hostile wars press,
Give strength; bear aid.
To the Lord One in Three,
May there be eternal glory;
For, life without end
he gives to us in our homeland.
Adoro Te Devote is a Eucharistic Hymn also composed by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
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 verius.
In cruce 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:
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
English Translation of Adoro Te Devote:
I devoutly adore you, O hidden Deity,
Truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to you,
And in contemplating you,
It surrenders itself completely.
Sight, touch, taste are all deceived
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.
I believe and confess both,
And ask for what the repentant thief asked.
I do not see the wounds as Thomas did,
But I confess that you are my God.
Make me believe more and 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,
wash me clean with your blood,
One drop of which can free
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
Tantum ergo are the opening words of the last two verses of Pange Lingua, a Mediaeval Latin hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas. These last two verses are sung during veneration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church and other churches that practice this devotion.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio. Amen.
V. Panem de caelis praestitisti eis
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem
Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
A translation over a hundred years old and still used in Catholic churches liturgically renders the hymn thus, in a form which can be sung to the same music as the Latin:
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
V. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
R. Having within it all Sweetness.
V. Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.