February 1, 2014

Nunc Dimittis (Canticle of Simeon)

Painting by Aert de Gelder - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Nunc Dimities (Canticle of Simeon) is sung at Compline in the Roman Breviary. The text is taken from St. Jerome's (c.347-420) Latin Vulgate translation of Luke 2:29-32. Simeon sang this when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of consecration of the firstborn son (the Presentation), after the time of Mary's purification of at least 40 days after the birth. Like other devout Jews before him throughout Salvation History, the old Levitical Priest, Simeon has waited and watched for the coming of the Savior, and now nearing the end of his life, prays to be dismissed from his faithful service. Likewise, we too, at the end of our day of labour as servants of the Lord, pray not only to be dismissed from the day's service for a night of rest, but (mindful of our own mortality) pray also for a peaceful death.

NUNC DIMMITTIS (with Antiphon)

Antiphon: Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes,
                 custodi nos dormientes,
                 ut vigil emus cum Christo
                 et requiescamus in pace.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

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