A canticle is a hymn taken from the Bible. The following Canticles are found in the New Testament :-
- The Canticle of Zachary (Benedcitus) – Luke 1:68-79
- The Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Magnificat) – Luke 1:46-55
- The Canticle of Simeon (Nunc dimittis) – Luke 2:29-32
The Benedictus is the Song of Zechariah or Canticle of Zachary. It is given in the Gospel of Luke – Chapter 1, Verses 68-79. It is one of the three canticles in the opening chapters of this Gospel. The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah who was filled with the Holy Spirit, on the occasion of the birth of his son, John the Baptist. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Benedictus is part of Lauds (Divine Office or Liturgy of Hours that takes place in the early morning hours).
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
A savior 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 we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
As for you, child, you shall be called a prophet of God,the most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people, by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.