As I frequently say in sermons and conversations: “I am a good Church of Christ boy.” That being said, here’s something true about me that is NOT very Church-of-Christ-ish: I love liturgy!
I pray from the Liturgy of the Hours nearly every day. One thing that is always in the ordinary is the Te Deum. It is technically not required to be said every time you perform the office of readings, but is only required on Sundays, solemnities, and feasts. I end up saying it nearly every time though. Part of the reason is because I like to break the rules [total rebel right?], but a more serious reason is I just think it is so so beautiful.
The Te Deum (also called Te Deum Laudamus) is a hymn. Te Deum is latin for “You are God.” It is the first line of the prayer – as you will see below. It is a very ancient hymn with a fascinating history of interpretation and reception. You can read more about some of those details on the entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia here.
I do not sing it nor chant it when I say it in the course of the Liturgy of the Hours. I prefer just to speak it like a prayer. I think God doesn’t mind. I do like to listen to a modern adaptation of it though by SPO Worship. See a link to a YouTube video of it below.
Here is the English text of the Te Deum prayer for your prayerful meditation. I tried to follow as closely as possible the organization of it given in my Liturgy of the Hours copy.
You are God: we praise you;
You are Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
Your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
And the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
The eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
You did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death,
And opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
Bought with the price of your own blood,
And bring us with your saints
To glory everlasting.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always.
Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name forever.
Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope:
And we shall never hope in vain
Here is a link to a video of the Te Deum sung in original Latin by Catholic monks. It has an English translation on the video so you can have some idea of what they are saying.
Here is an English version with lyrics.
And here is my favorite musical version: Te Deum by SPO Worship. It is a modern adaptation that I really enjoy listening to.