Cor Arca Legem Continens

Type: Hymn.

Story: An beautiful hymn that was used for Lauds on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. It can be traced back to the 18th century. It is quite probable that the anonymous author gave us also the hymns for Vespers and Matins of the same feast. The Heart of Jesus is made to be, the new Arc of the Covenant, which holds the new alliance, of Mercy and Love. In the second stanza, the Sacred Heart is compared to the temple and the veil, as the figures that signaled our Lord’s body, as the True Temple of God.
Later, the author brings us to sing to that stroke, which opened for us the wound of love, through which we would see Christ’s invisible love, in the wound of his Heart; inviting us finally, to love him, who has loved us to such extreme, and to dwell forever in his heart, as in a tabernacle.
The translation was made by Fr. Zepeda, who chose to sacrifice metrics, in order to convey more clearly the meaning of the Latin words.

Lyrics and Translation:

Cor, arca legem continens
Non servitutis veteris,
Sed gratiæ, sed veniæ,
Sed et misericordiæ.

Cor, Sanctuarium novi
Intemeratum faederis,
Templum vetusto sanctius,
Velumque scisso utilius.

Te vulneratum caritas
Ictu patenti voluit;
Amoris invisibilis
Ut veneremur vulnera.

Hoc sub amoris symbolo
Passus cruenta, et mystica,
Utrumque sacrificium
Christus Sacerdos obtulit.

Quis non amantem redamet?
Quis non redemptus diligat,
Et Corde in isto seligat
Æterna tabernacula?

Decus Parenti et Filio,
Sanctoque sit Spiritui,
Quibus potestas, gloria
Regnumque in omne est sæculum.
Oh, Heart! the Arc that keeps the law,
Not of old servitude,
but of Grace, of Pardon,
And of Mercy as well.

Heart, O blessed new Sanctuary,
Of an alliance without blemish
Holier than the temple of yore,
More healthful than the veil that tore.

Thou were wounded, for Charity,
So willed, that by the blow,
Thy invisible love,
Open through the wound we may adore.

This under the symbol of love,
The cruel passion and mystical,
of both one sacrifice is done,
Offered By Christ the Priest.

Who shall not love such a lover?
Who redeemed shall not adore?
And in this Heart shall not choose,
as his eternal tabernacle?

Grant it, O Father, Only Son,
And Spirit, God of grace,
To whom all worship shall be done,
In every time and place.

Composer: Anonymous.

Parts: 2.

Voicing: SA

Language: Latin

Subject: Sacred Heart

Season: General

Organ: Optional

Sheet Music


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