January 25, 2015

Benedictus (Canticle of Zechariah)

Medieval Fresco of Zechariah with John the Baptist - Wikipedia

The Benedictus is the Canticle of Zechariah from Luke 1:68-79.  It takes it's title from the opening line of the Latin Vulgate translation by St. Jerome: "Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel" (Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel).  A popular passage since ancient times in the Church, it is believed to have been first introduced into daily prayer by St. Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-543 or 547). In the Roman Breviary it is sung at Lauds (Morning Prayer).

Latin (begins at 2:00 min.)


Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel;
quia visitavit et fecit redemptionem plebi suae

Et erexit cornu salutis nobis,
in domo David pueri sui,

Sicut locutus est per os sanctorum,
qui a saeculo sunt, prophetarum eius,

Salutem ex inimicis nostris,
et de manu omnium, qui oderunt nos;

Ad faciendam misericordiam cum patribus nostris,
et memorari testamenti sui sancti,

Iusiurandum, quod iuravit ad Abraham patrem nostrum,
daturum se nobis,

Ut sine timore, de manu inimicorum liberati,
serviamus illi

In sanctitate et iustitia coram ipso
omnibus diebus nostris.

Et tu, puer, propheta Altissimi vocaberis:
praeibis enim ante faciem Domini parare vias eius,

Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi eius
in remissionem peccatorum eorum,

Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri,
in quibus visitabit nos oriens ex alto,

Illuminare his, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent,
ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.



Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel,
because He has visited us and wrought redemption for His people.

And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the House of David, His servant.

As He hath promised through the mouths of His holy ones,
the prophets of old:

Salvation from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us.

To show mercy to our forefathers
and to be mindful of His holy covenant:

The oath, which He swore to Abraham, our father,
that He would grant us,

That being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
we may serve Him without fear.

In holiness and justice before Him
all our days.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High;
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,

To give knowledge of salvation to His people
through forgiveness of their sins.

Because of the compassionate kindness of our God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us

To shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet in the way of peace.

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