Day 36: Beauty of Her Devotion
By Abbey Foard
DSM Executive Director
St. Thomas Aquinas’ (1225-1274) hymn, Adoro te Devote, captured me with its melody when I heard it almost a decade ago (listen to a contemporary setting of the melody here).
Hidden God, devoutly I adore Thee,
truly present underneath these veils:
all my heart subdues itself before Thee,
since it all before Thee faints and fails.
Ah, this 'hidden' God, who implores us to seek Him passionately, before whom hearts melt in submission and surrender.
Though sometimes He seems veiled, He meets me when I seek Him. A most faithful presence, He is deep. Responsive. Communicative. Real. Ever new. My life is defined by moments of Jesus-encounter. My wholeness hinges on His Real Presence. I became Catholic this year and I am moved by His invitations to encounter Him in new dimensions of prayer.
At the start of this fast, the Lord invited me to intercede for a specific breakthrough in my life. I learned of a Novena (from the Latin word for nine)—a prayer that focuses on a specific intention for 9 days (or in my case, 9 weeks), usually through the intercession of one or more saints. This particular Novena invited the intercession of St. Anthony of Padua, a man known for deep prayer and miracles that Jesus wrought through his gift of intercession. I imagined him in heaven, delighting in interceding for me. He was ready to pray for my breakthrough!
Last Tuesday I knelt to pray. Immediately (and in such a way that I knew I had not manufactured as the vision came so quickly!) I had a picture of Jesus and St. Anthony together. They were giddy with excitement, working with intention and pleasure. I knew instinctively they were preparing something for me. I was a little girl with two adoring big brothers readying a gift for the sister they loved. Their joy astounded me. Their intentionality comforted me.
Every week I have interceded with this Novena. The words are simple. Clear. I move in faith, not desperation. My heart is bare and increasingly open in trust. The Lord is stirring up an adoring heart. The One who longs to satisfy my hunger and thirst is peeking through the veil to reveal His glory.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ hymn concludes with the same thought:
Contemplating, Lord, Thy hidden presence,
Grant me what I thirst for and implore,
In the revelation of Thy essence
To behold Thy glory evermore. Amen!
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’
‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’