Canticle of Zachariah (Preface )

For those who daily pray the Liturgy of the Hours this prayer is prayed each and every morning.  It is for most who pray the liturgy, said to the point that it is committed to memory.  One morning I was sitting there praying the Morning Prayer and after I had completed my prayers I began to contemplate on what a beautiful prayer it is.  Like Manyparts of our faith, it can be easy to go into rote memorization and not have a good grasp on the origins of the prayer, what it is, or why we say or do the things that we do !

The first question we should answer is … Who is Zachariah, and why is he important in the scheme of the history of salvation ?  Zachariah was a priest.   In that time, he was a member of a particular family, there were 24 families, or courses, or groups of priests.  Each of these groups of priests would in turn go to Jerusalem in order to care for, serve , offer prayer and sacrifices in the Temple.  Among these priests who went to serve there were various jobs necessary to functioning of the temple.. They included tending the sacred fire  ( consider this in relation to the tabernacle lamp we have now), and changing the loaves,  offering incense, or tending the 7 branched lamp .  These jobs were given to each priest by drawing lots.

It was Zachariah’s turn to go forward to offer the incense at the incense altar,  and while he was in there, the angel Gabriel appeared to him. and announced to him that he would have a son.  Zachariah was, by this time of an advanced age,  and had not been able to have children.   So Zachariah questioned the angel.  Gabriel said to him, that because he did not believe who he had been told,   Zachariah would not be able to speak until these things had come to pass.  Zachariah then returned home to his wife.   Zachariah’s wife was Elizabeth,

Now, up to this point in time, Elizabeth had indeed been barren.  This fact was a point of sorrow for both Zachariah and Elizabeth, because children were seen as a gift from God.  Blessings to be greatly desired and treasured.  SO when Elizabeth was pregnant, she went into seclusion, and stayed there until, as we all know, shortly afterward the angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary then went and visited Elizabeth who  was then pregnant with John and in her  sixth month when Mary came to Elizabeth and stayed to serve her cousin.

Once Elizabeth had given birth to John, then Zachariah was freely able to speak again, and he , filled with joy and love at the birth of his first born, and with the knowledge that Gabriel has told him that John would be the precursor, to the savior , he composed this Canticle.

A Canticle is a song.  This particular song is divided into 2 distinct verses.    The first half is composed in praise of God for all he has done and what he knows is yet to come !  The second half is directed directly to John and the joy Zachariah felt at the knowledge that his son would be a great prophet and would be doing great things for God..

**Note**  This will be the beginning of a 6 part series on this Canticle, I pray this series brings some deeper spiritual meaning and light to your daily prayers.. Pax et Bonum !

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3 Responses to “Canticle of Zachariah (Preface )”

  1. Debra McCullar Says:

    Lovely. Great job. God bless

  2. SaintlySages Says:

    Thank you for your commentary on the Canticle of Zechariah. Looking forward to reading more. Pax et Bonum!

  3. silvia chifumbano Says:

    I have enjoyed your reflection about zachariah ,and l have seen that God can answer our prayers in mass,he also wants us to keep secret and wait for the right time to reveal.

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