Cor Arca Legem
1. O Heart, Thou ark containing the Law, not of the old servitude,
but of grace, and indulgence, and also of mercy.
2. O Heart, Thou spotless sanctuary of the new covenant,
Thou Temple, holier than the ancient one, And Veil, more profitable than that torn of old.
3. Charity willed Thee to be wounded; by the spear thrust opened,
that we might venerate the wounds of an invisible love.
4. Under this symbol of love, having suffered bloody and mystical torments,
Christ the Priest offered each in sacrifice.
5. Who would not love in turn the One so loving him? Who, being thus redeemed, would not love,
and choose eternal dwellings in this Heart?
6. O Jesus, to Thee be glory, Who pourest grace from Thy heart,
with the Father and the loving Spirit unto everlasting ages.
Click here for the Latin lyrics.
This hymn is part of the Divine Office, prayed publicly or privately by every Catholic Priest, professed religious, and many seminarians. It is part of the canonical hour of Vespers, being the hymn which comes toward the end. This particular Vespers hymn is taken from the Feast of the Sacred Heart. In a seminary or monastery, this hymn would be sung. It has a very compelling melody, which adds to the beauty of a hymn which extolls the mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The theme of the entire piece is Our Lord's Sacred Heart, and how It is the font of mercy for all who come to Him.
The verses of this hymn have many elisions - syllables which are left out. They are marked in these lyrics by parentheses. For instance, in verse 4: "Passus cruent(a) et mystica" has one too many syllables; so you would pronounce it "crent et mystica". It is the same as in English poetry, where you might say "eer" instead of "ever", to better fit the rhythm and meter the poem requires.
This is found on the following CD(s):
Chant Compendium 1, and
Chant Compendium 2.
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