O Christ Behind Thy Temple's Veil

This is a hymn about the Sacred Heart of Jesus 

It is a translation of the Latin hymn “Cor arca legem continens.”   The translator unknown. It was first published in A Treasury of Catholic Song in 1915.

Hymnary currently identifies the translator as John PC Bute - but this is perhaps not correct: John Stuart, PC, the 3rd Marquis of Bute was responsible for another translation of the same text, Jesus Behind Thy Temple's Veil, which appears in his Breviary.

Hymn-books which it has been published in include:
  • The Basilian Hymnal, revised (1918)
  • A Treasury of Catholic Song, J. Fischer & Bro., New York, 1915

In each of these, it is set to an unnamed tune by S Webbe - who is possibly Samuel Webbe (1740-1816).


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Traditional language

0 Christ, behind Thy Temple's veil,
enclosed in ark of gold,
On stones, engraven lay the law
Thy finger wrote of old.

Incarnate Word in Temple new,
Thy life-blood's throbbing shrine,
On fleshy tables, graven held
The law of love divine.

And when that Heart in death was still'd,
Each temple's veil was riven,
And lo, within Thy loves red shrine
To us to look was given.

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.

Thou, Saviour, cause that every soul,
Which Thou hast loved so well,
May will within Thine opened heart
In life and death to dwell.

0 grant it, Father, only Son
And Spirit God of grace,
To Whom all worship shall be done
In every time and place.

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