St. Hermann Joseph and the Sacred Heart

Today we mark the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; a reminder to us of the honour due to that Heart which loves us. Whilst the roots of devotion to the Sacred Heart are normally associated with the visions of St. Margaret Mary the devotion is in fact much older. The beginnings of this devotion are present in the works of Bonaventure, Bernard and Gertrude, but the early Fathers also spoke of the heart of God which symbolises the love He has for us.

It is one of our own saints however who is credited with having composed the first hymn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Hermann Joseph (whoe life is related here) was a priest and canon of our Order. Though primarily noted for his devotion to the Mother of God, St. Hermann Joseph also displayed a remarkable devotion to the Sacred Heart. He wrote this hymn, which gives expression to his devotion;

Summi regis cor, aveto,
Te saluto corde laeto,
Te complecti me delectat
Et cor meum hoc affectat;
Ut ad te loquar, toleres.

Quo amore vulnebaris!
Quo dolore torquebaris,
Cum te totus exhaurires,
Ut te nobis impertires
Et nos a morte tolleres!

O mors illa, quam avara,
Quam immitis, quam amara,
Quae per cellam introivit,
In qua mundi vita vivit,
Te mordens, cor dulcissimum!

Propter mortem, quam tulisti,
Quando pro me defecisti,
Cordis mei, cor dilectum,
Totum in te fer affectum;
Hoc est, quod opto plurimum.

Per medullam cordis mei,
Peccatoris atque rei,
Tuus amor transferatur,
Quo potenter vulneratur,
Quicunque te complectitur.

Illo fonte me fecunda,
Salva, sana, fove, munda,
Ex te laute qui manavit
Totum hominemque lavit,
In te hasta dum flectitur.

Dilatare, aperire,
Tamquam rosa fragrans mire;
Cordi meo te coniunge,
Unge illud et compunge;
Qui amat te, quid patitur!

Quidnam amat, nescit vere,
Nec se valet conhibere,
Nullum modum dat amori,
Multa morte vellet mori,
Amore quisque vincitur.

Vivas! vivas! tibi clamo,
Dulce cor, te namque amo;
Ad cor meum inclinare,
Ut se possit applicare
Devoto tibi pectore.

Tuo vivat in amore.
Ne dormitet in torpore;
Ad te oret, ad te ploret,
Te adoret, te odoret
Te fruens omni tempore.

Rosa cordis, aperire,
Cuius odor fragrat mire;
Te dignare dilatare,
Fac cor meum anhelare,
Dulcem odorem sapiat.

Ad te trahe tu cor meum
Nec me spernas, pie, reum,
Ut iam tibi sit vicinum,
Infer intra tuum sinum,
Ut se in te inveniat.

Hic repauset, hic moretur;
Ecce, iam post te movetur,
Te ardenter vult sentire,
Vult patenter introire,
Ut bene de te sentiat,

Tu tuorum iam dulcedo,
Ego totum tibi me do,
Totus in te introire
Volo, noli contraire,
Cor tuum me suscipiat.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, broken by our ingratitude and pierced by our sins, yet loving us still,

Have mercy on us!

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