Gospel Canticles

Something that had never occurred to me in long years of praying the office: that monastics–or anybody, really–wouldn’t want a daily repeat of the traditional three gospel canticles. Those Germans.

I’ve seen Matthew 5:3-10 and John 1 used as canticles in some formats. I could see brief “canticles” for daily prayer made of passages like Luke 19:38 or Matthew 11:28-31 or John 7:37b-38 or perhaps some of Jesus’ farewell discourse from John (14-17).

John 1 seems to fit better for the Office of Readings. Maybe the beatitudes for Sunday daytime prayer. I don’t like the elevation of New Testament canticles to the level of the Magnificat or Benedictus. And if the daily singing of these pieces were to grow tiresome, I’d say having a rotation of seven different musical settings would ensure interest.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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