Sunday, 1 September 2013

Latin prayer of the week: Benedictus



A few weeks ago in this series on the common prayers we should know in Latin, I took a quick look at the great Gospel canticle of thanksgiving used at Vespers each day, the Magnificat.  Today I want to look at the Gospel canticle used at Lauds each day, the Benedictus, which is St Zachariah's song as recorded in St Luke 1: 68-79.

Lauds is said everyday at first light or dawn (at least in theory!), and as such includes constant reminders of the Resurrection in the rising of the sun/Son, and the coming of our salvation, and this canticle is very much part of that theme.  Accordingly, it is a good prayer to say at the start of each day even if you don't say Lauds as a whole.

The text

Benedíctus Dóminus, Deus Ísrael, quia visitávit et fecit redemptiónem plebi suæ,
et eréxit cornu salútis nobis in domo David púeri sui,
sicut locútus est per os sanctórum, qui a sæculo sunt, prophetárum eius,
salútem ex inimícis nostris et de manu ómnium, qui odérunt nos;
ad faciéndam misericórdiam cum pátribus nostris et memorári testaménti sui sancti,
iusiurándum, quod iurávit ad Ábraham patrem nostrum, datúrum se nobis,
ut sine timóre, de manu inimicórum liberáti, serviámus illi
in sanctitáte et iustítia coram ipso ómnibus diébus nostris.
Et tu, puer, prophéta Altíssimi vocáberis: præíbis enim ante fáciem Dómini paráre vias eius,
ad dandam sciéntiam salútis plebi eius in remissiónem peccatórum eórum,
per víscera misericórdiæ Dei nostri, in quibus visitábit nos óriens ex alto,
illumináre his, qui in ténebris et in umbra mortis sedent, ad dirigéndos pedes nostros in viam pacis.
Glória Patri et Fílio et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

Here it is chanted, with a short antiphon first:



And here is the 'UK' version of the English, as given in the Compendium of the Catechism:

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel! He has visited his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up for us a mighty saviour In the house of David his servant,
As he promised by the lips of holy men, Those who were his prophets from of old.
A saviour who would free us from our foes, From the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled And his holy covenant remembered.
He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,  that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice all the days of our life in his presence.
As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord To prepare his ways before him.
To make known to his people their salvation Through forgiveness of all their sins,
The loving-kindness of the heart of our God Who visits us like the dawn from on high.
He will give light to those in darkness, Those who dwell in the shadow of death, And guide us into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

And in honour of the Ordinariate ordinations over the last week or so, here is a little of that Anglican patrimony!

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