Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Sacra jam splendent

A thousand lights their glory shed

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Sacra jam splendent decorate lychnis
    Templa, jam sertis redimitur ara
    Et pio fumant redolentque aceræ
       Thuris honore.
  2. Num juvet Summo Geniti Parente
    Regios ortus celebrare cantu?
    Num domus David, decora et vetustæ
       Nomina gentis?
  3. Gratius nobis memorare parvum
    Nazaræ tectum, tenuemque cultum,
    Gratius Jesu tacitam referre
       Carmine vitam.
  4. Nili ab extremis peregrinus oris
    Angeli ductu, propere remigrat
    Multa perpessus Puer et paterno
       Limine sospes,
  5. Arte, qua Joseph, humili excolendus
    Abdito Jesus juvenescit ævo,
    Seque fabrilis socium laboris
       Adjicit ultro.
  6. Irriget sudor mea membra, dixit,
    Antequam sparso madeant cruore:
    Hæc quoque humano generi expiando
       Pœna luatur.
  7. Assidet Nato pia Mater almo,
    Assidet Sponso bona nupta; felix
    Si potest curas relevare fessis
       Munere amico.
  8. O neque experts, operæ et laboris,
    Nec mali ignri, miseros juvate,
    Quos reluctantes per acuta rerum
       Urget egestas.
  9. Demite his fastus, quibus ampla splendet
    Faustitas, mentem date rebus æquam:
    Quotquot implorant columen, benigno
       Cernite vultu.
  10. Sit tibi, Jesu, decus atque virtus,
    Sancta qui vitæ documenta præbes,
    Quique cum summon Genitore et almo
       Flamine regnas.
  1. A thousand lights their glory shed
    On shrines and altars garlanded;
    While swinging censers dusk the air
       With perfumed prayer.
  2. And shall we sing the ancestry
    Of Jesus, Son of God most High?
    Or the heroic names retrace
       Of David's race?
  3. Sweeter is lowly Nazareth,
    Where Jesus drew His childish breath—
    Sweeter the singing that endears
       His hidden years.
  4. An Angel leads the pilgrim band
    From Egypt to their native land,
    Where Jesus clings to Joseph’s arm,
       Secure from harm.
  5. “And the Child grew in wisdom’s ken
    And years and grace with God and men;”
    And in His father's humble art
       Took share and part.
  6. “With toil,” saith He, “my limbs are wet,
    Prefiguring the Bloody Sweat:”
    Ah! how He bears our chastisement
       With sweet content!
  7. At Joseph’s bench, at Jesus’ side,
    The Mother sits, the Virgin-Bride;
    Happy, if she may cheer their hearts
       With loving arts.
  8. O Blessed Three! who felt the sting
    Of want and toil and suffering,
    Pity the needy and obscure
       Lot of the poor.
  9. Banish the “pride of life” from all
    Whom ampler wealth and joys befall:
    Be every heart with love repaid
       That seeks your aid.
  10. Glory to Thee, O Jesu dear,
    Model of holy living here!
    Who reign’st, with Sire and Holy Ghost,
       O’er heaven’s host.
Author: Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903). Meter: Sapphic and Adonic. Translation by Monsignor Henry. There are two translations. Liturgical Use: Hymn for Matins on the Feast of the Holy Family.
  1. “The sacred temples are already resplendent with lamps; the altar is wreathed round with garlands, and in loving honor vessels of incense smoke and emit a pleasant odor.” Acerra, an incense-box, a censer.
  2. “Would it not be pleasing to celebrate in song the royal birth of the Son from the sovereign Father? And to sing of the house of David and of the illustrious names of that ancient family?” Ortus, pl., both the temporal and the eternal birth of the Son.
  3. “To us it is more agreeable to call to mind the little house at Nazareth, and the simple mode of life therein; more agreeable to relate in song the hidden life of Jesus.”
  4. “As a wanderer, under the guidance of an Angel, suffering much, the Child quickly returns from the distant banks of the Nile and is safe in His father’s house.” Paterno refers to St. Joseph, His foster-father.
  5. “Jesus grows up in His hidden life, working faithfully at the same humble profession as St. Joseph; and of His own accord He devotes Himself to the profession of carpentering.”
  6. “May perspiration moisten My limbs,” He said, “before they become wet with My Blood poured forth; this toil must also be suffered in expiating the sins of the human race.” Pœnam luere, to suffer, undergo punishment.
  7. “The loving Mother sits beside her beloved Son; the good bride, beside her spouse, happy if she can lighten the labors of the weary with affectionate attention.”
  8. “O ye who have endured pains and toil, who were not unacquainted with misfortune, help the poor whom dire poverty oppresses in their struggle against necessitous conditions.” This and the following stanza call to mind Pope Leo’s great Encyclical Rerum novarum which treats of the relations between capital and labor (1891).
  9. “Banish from men pride, with which ample wealth bedecks itself; grant us equanimity in the affairs of life: behold with a benign countenance all who invoke the Most High.” Columen, lit., a height; heaven.
  10. “Praise be to Thee, O Jesus, who givest the holy precepts of life, who reignest with the sovereign Father and the Holy Spirit.