24 June 2013

Benedictus Dominus Deus

The Benedictus is the canticle of thanksgiving spoken by Zechariah on the occasion of the birth of his son, John the Baptist, and recorded by St. Luke in the first chapter of his Gospel (vv. 68-79).

It is composed of two parts, the first section being a thanksgiving for the fulfillment of the Jewish hope for the coming of the Messiah. The time of their long-awaited deliverance was here, and it was the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham.  It meant that God's people would be able to "serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness."

The second part of the canticle is addressed by Zechariah to his own son, John, who was to have an important a part in the redemption of mankind. He was to be a prophet.  He would preach repentance, and would "go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways."

The Benedictus Dominus Deus is found in The Book of Divine Worship as one of the canticles in Morning Prayer.

BLESSED be the Lord God of Israel; * for he hath visited and redeemed his people;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us, * in the house of his servant David;
As he spake by the mouth of his holy Prophets, * which have been since the world began;
That we should be saved from our enemies, * and from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers, * and to remember his holy covenant;
To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham, * that he would give us;
That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies * might serve him without fear;
In holiness and righteousness before him, * all the days of our life.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: * for thou shalt go. before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people * for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God; * whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;
To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, * and to guide our feet into the way of peace.