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WHAT IS A CANTICLE?

Canticle, a little song, refers to a spiritual song in praise of God or Jesus Christ. There are many canticles in the Scriptures, some of which are used in the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours and the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


The Canticle of Brother Sun (St. Francis)

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!

All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong.

No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

All praise be yours, my lord, through all that you have made.

And first, my Lord, Brother Sun, Who brings they day; and light you give us through him.

How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!

Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sisters Moon and Stars; In the heavens you have made them, bright and precious and fair.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and fair and stormy, all the weather's moods, by which you cherish all that you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, lowly, precious, and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten up the night.

How beautiful is he, how gay! Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother, who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace, by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death, from whose embrace no mortal can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin!

Happy those she finds doing your will! 

The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility.


Mary's Canticle

Mary's Canticle is Mary's response to Elizabeth's greeting at the visitation. The canticle's title in Latin, Magnificat, comes from the opening words: "My soul magnifies..." or "proclaims." The Magnificat is prayed each day by the church as part of its Evening Prayer.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God our Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.


Zechariah's Canticle 

Zechariah's Canticle is also named after its first word in Latin. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, is singing in gratitude after John's birth. Zechariah praises God's fidelity to the messianic promise. The canticle is prayed each day by the Church as part of its Morning Prayer.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.


Simeon's Canticle

Simeon's Canticle is also named after its first words in Latin. It is the song of the old man in the temple at the Lord's presentation with his request for permission to die. It is prayed each day by the Church as part of its Night Prayer.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.


Gospel Canticle

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.


Other New Testament Canticles

God's plan fulfilled in Christ, Ephesians 1:3-10

Christ, firstborn from the dead, Colossians 1:12-20

Song of the Paschal mystery, Philippians 2:6-11

Song of the mystery of our faith, 1 Timothy 3:16

Song of the suffering Christ, 1 Peter 2:21-24

Song of the Creator and of the Lamb, Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10, 12, 13b

Song of divine judgment, Revelation 11:17-18

Praise of God's power, Revelation 12:10-12

Song of Moses and the Lamb, Revelation 15:3-4

The wedding feast of the Lamb, Revelation 19:1-7


Canticles Prayed By The Church

The Old Testament canticles are arranged by the Church for its Morning Prayer (Lauds) according to their theme. Just as the 150 psalms are distributed over a period of time longer than a single week, so in the revised Liturgy of the Hours the Old Testament canticles are spread over four weeks in each of four series. The canticle is prayed between the two psalms of the Morning Prayer.

Week One

Sunday, Daniel 3:57-88, 56

Monday, 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

Tuesday, Tobit 13:1-8

Wednesday, Judith 16:2-3a, 13-15

Thursday, Jeremiah 31:10-14

Friday, Isaiah 45:15-25

Saturday, Exodus 15:1-4a, 8-13,17-18

Week Two

Sunday, Daniel 3:52-57

Monday, Sirach 36:1-5, 10-13

Tuesday, Isaiah 38:10-14, 17-20

Wednesday, 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Thursday, Isaiah 12:1-6

Friday, Habakkuk 3:2-4, 13a, 15-19

Saturday, Deuteronomy 32:1-12

Week Three

Sunday, Daniel 3:57-88, 56

Monday, Isaiah 2:2-5

Tuesday, Isaiah 26:1-4, 7-9, 12

Wednesday, Isaiah 33:13-16

Thursday, Isaiah 40:10-17

Friday, Jeremiah 14:17-21

Saturday, Wisdom 9:1-6, 9-11

Week Four

Sunday, Daniel 3:52-57

Monday, Isaiah 42:10-16

Tuesday, Daniel 3:26, 27, 29, 34-41

Wednesday, Isaiah 61:10-62:5

Thursday, Isaiah 66:10-14a

Friday, Tobit 13:8-11, 13-15

Saturday, Ezekiel 36:24-28

Like their Old Testament counterparts in Morning Prayer, the New Testament canticles are prayed (following the two psalms) according to theme, in a one week series.

Saturday, Philippians 2:6-11

Sunday, Revelation 19:1-7 (1 Peter 2:21-24 in Lent)

Monday, Ephesians 1:3-10

Tuesday, Revelation 4:11, 5:9-10, 12, 13b

Wednesday, Colossians 1:12-20

Thursday, Revelation 11:17-18; 12:10-12

Friday, Revelation 15:3-4

 

 
 

Prayerbook

A Catholic Religious Site

"A Collage of Catholic Information"

PRAYERS