Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Cor, arca legem continens

Jesus, behind Thy Temple’s veil

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Cor, arca legem continens
    Non servitutis veteris,
    Sed gratiæ, sed veniæ,
    Sed et misericordiæ.
  2. Cor, Sanctuarium novi
    Intemeratum fœderis,
    Templum vetusto sanctius,
    Velumque scisso utilius.
  3. Te vulneratum caritas
    Ictu patenti voluit;
    Amoris invisibilis
    Ut veneremur vulnera.
  4. Hoc sub amoris symbolo
    Passus cruenta, et mystica,
    Utrumque sacrificium
    Christus Sacerdos obtulit.
  5. Quis non amantem redamet?
    Quis non redemptus diligat,
    Et Corde in isto seligat
    Æterna tabernacula?
  6. Decus Parenti et Filio,
    Sanctoque sit Spiritui,
    Quibus potestas, gloria
    Regnumque in omne est sæculum.
  1. Jesus, behind Thy Temple’s veil,
    Hid in an ark of gold,
    On stones engraven, lay the Law
    Thy finger wrote of old.
  2. But in Thy Body’s temple new,
    Thy life-blood’s throbbing shrine,
    Held, upon fleshly tables graved,
    The law of Love Divine.
  3. And when that Heart in death was stilled,
    Each temple’s veil was riven:
    And lo, within Thy Love’s red shrine,
    To us to look was given.
  4. There make us gaze and see the love
    Which drew Thee, for our sake,
    O great High-priest, Thyself to God
    A sacrifice to make.
  5. Thou, Saviour, cause that every soul
    Which Thou hast love so well,
    May will within Thine open Heart
    In life and death to dwell.
  6. Grant it, O Father, only Son,
    And Spirit, God of grace,
    To whom all worship shall be done,
    In every time and place.
Author: Unknown, 18th cent. Meter: Iambic dimeter. Translation from the Marquess of Bute’s Roman Breviary. There are seven translations. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Lauds on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The above translation and one by Rosa Mulholland—“O tender Heart, strong ark which doth enshrine,” are found in several hymnals. Both are in the Annus Sanctus.
  1. “O Heart, Thou ark, which dost contain the law, not the law of ancient servitude, but of grace, of pardon, and of mercy.” The Old Law was a law of servitude, and was eminently suited to the hard-heartedness of the Jews. It was a law of fear and bondage given amid thunders, and appropriately engraved on stone. The New Law, on the contrary, is a law of love and liberty engraved by the Holy Spirit on the hearts of the faithful.
  2. “O Heart, undefiled sanctuary of the New Law, temple more sacred than that of old, and veil more useful than that which was rent.” Vetusto (templo); scisso (velo). Velum, cf. Matt. 27, 51.
  3. “Thy love hath willed that Thou be wounded with an open wound, that we might (see and) venerate the wounds of Thy invisible love.” Ictus, blow, stroke, stab. Patenti, abl. of pres. part. of patere, 2, to be open.
  4. “Under this symbol of love, He suffered in a bloody and mystical manner; and Christ as priest offered a two-fold sacrifice.” The twofold sacrifice is that of Calvary (cruenta) and the Mass (mystica).
  5. “Who would not love in return one loving him? Who, redeemed, would not love (his Redeemer), and choose in that Heart an eternal dwelling place?”