Contents Sacra iam splendent
A Thousand Lights Their Glory Shed

Written by Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903). This hymn is used for the Office of the Readings on the Feast of the Holy Family. In the current Liturgy of the Hours, only verses 3,5,7,8 and 10 are used and is titled Dulce fit nobis memorare parvum.

SACRA iam splendent decorata lychnis
templa, iam sertis redimitur ara,
et pio fumant redolentque acerrae
thuris honore.
A THOUSAND lights their glory shed
on shrines and altars garlanded:
while swinging censers dusk the air
with perfumed prayer.
Num iuvet Summo Geniti Parente
regios ortus celebrare cantu?
num domus David, decora et vetustae
nomina gentis?
And shall we sing the ancestry
of Jesus, Son of God most High?
Or the heroic names retrace
of David's race?
Gratius nobis memorare parvum
Nazarae tectum, tenuemque cultum
gratius Iesu tacitam referre
carmine vitam.
Sweeter is lowly Nazareth,
where Jesus drew His childish breath-
sweeter the singing that endears
His hidden years.
Nili ab extremis peregrinus oris,
angeli ductu, propere remigrat
multa perpessus Puer, et paterno
limine sospes.
An Angel leads the pilgrim band
from Egypt to their native land,
where Jesus clings to Joseph's arm,
secure from harm.
Arte, qua Ioseph, humili excolendus
abdito Iesus iuvenescit aevo,
seque fabrilis socium laboris
adiicit ultro.
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.
Irriget sudor mea membra, dixit,
antequam sparso madeant cruore:
haec quoque humano generi expiando
poena luatur.
"With toil," saith He, "my limbs are wet,
prefiguring the bloody sweat:"
Ah, how He bears our chastisement
with sweet content!
Assidet Nato pia Mater almo,
assidet Sponso bona nupta, felix
si potest curas relevare fessis
munere amico.
At Joseph's bench, at Jesus' side,
the Mother sits, the Virgin-Bride:
Happy, if she may cheer their hearts
with loving arts.
O neque expertes opere et laboris,
nec mali ignari, miseros iuvate,
quos reluctantes per acuta rerum
urget egestas.
O Blessed Three! who felt the sting
of want and toil and suffering,
pity the needy and the obscure
lot of the poor.
Demite his fastus, quibus ampla splendet
faustitas, mentem date rebus aquam:
quotquot implorant columen, benigno
cernite vultu.
Banish the pride of life from all
whom ample wealth and joys befall:
Be every heart with love repaid
that seeks your aid.
Sit tibi, Iesu, decus atque virtus,
sancta qui vitae documenta praebes,
quique cum summo Genitore et almo
flamine regnas.
Glory to Thee, O Iesu dear,
model of holy living hear!
Who reign'st, with Sire and Holy Ghost
oe'er heaven's host.

From the Roman Breviary. Translation by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Hugh Thomas Henry (1862-1946).

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