Effectively there are two variants of this beautiful hymn. Most of the variations occur in the first two verses. The substitution of the words “posset omni scélere” for “quit ab omni scélere” in the second-to-last verse and “cupio” for “sitio” in the closing one are practically the only other changes.
This hymn is usually attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) even though the earliest extant manuscript hails from about 50 years after his death. References to Aquinas’ hymn in the writings of his
Franciscan contemporary Jacopone da Todi (1228-1306, author of the Stabat Mater) tend to confirm its authenticity.
In spite of its saintly authorship the hymn never entered into the official liturgy and was only saved from obscurity when Pope St. Pius V included it among the prayers of thanksgiving after communion in his missal of 1570. Paul VI incorporated it into the Roman ritual, using a critical text established by the liturgist Dom André Wilmart. (read the entire Adoro Te Devote + Blue Vestments).
In 2004, Father Cantalamessa began a series of Eucharistic reflections in the light of the hymn Adoro Te Devote.
To respond to the Holy Father’s desire and intentions to dedicate this year to the Eucharist, the preaching for this Advent — and, God willing also for next Lent, will be a stanza-by-stanza commentary of the Adoro Te Devote.
With his encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” the Holy Father John Paul II said he intended to reawaken “Eucharistic wonder” in the Church, and the Adoro Te Devote lends itself wonderfully to achieve this objective. It might serve to give spiritual inspiration and heart to all that will be done during this year to honor the Eucharist.
A certain way of speaking of the Eucharist, full of warm unction and devotion as well as of profound doctrine, banished by the advent of so-called scientific theology, was preserved in old Eucharistic hymns and it is here that we must look for it today, if we wish to overcome a certain arid conceptualism that has afflicted the Sacrament of the Altar in the wake of so many disputes surrounding it.
Ours, however, will not be a reflection on the Adoro Te Devote, but on the Eucharist! The hymn is only the map that helps us to explore the territory, the guide that introduces us to the work of art. (Continue Reading the Reflections On Eucharist In Light Of Adoro Te Devote Part 1.)