Ice, snow, frost, cold, light & day

October 14, 2009



St Benedict is a big fan of the Canticle of the Three Young Men. He wants it to be a feature of the Sundays Lauds. It appears regularly in the Roman Office too. 

Vultus Christi comments:

The Benedicite or Canticle of the Three Young Men is familiar to all who pray the Divine Office. The Church places its lyrical verses on our lips every Sunday, Solemnity, and Feast at Lauds. In addition, the Roman Missal proposes that the priest say the Canticle of the Three Young Men daily after Mass. It is part of the official liturgical Thanksgiving After Mass. Blessed Abbot Columba Marmion was faithful to saying the Benedicite after Mass all his life. In Christ, the Life of the Soul, he writes:

The Church, the Bride of Christ, who knows better than anyone the secrets of her Divine Bridegroom, makes the priest sing in the sanctuary of his soul where the Word dwells, the inward canticle of thanksgiving. The soul leads all creation to the feet of its God and its Lord, that he may receive homage from every creature . . . . What a wonderful song is that all creation sung thus by the priest at the moment when he is united to the Eternal High-Priest, the one Mediator, the Divine Word by whom all was created!

Pope John Paul, in a General Audience in 2003, expressed the following:

“The Canticle found in the third chapter of the Book of Daniel is a magnificent hymn in praise of God’s transcendent glory. Sung by the three young men condemned to the fiery furnace for their fidelity to the God of Israel, the Canticle evokes the holiness and power of the Creator, who dwells among his people in his holy temple in Jerusalem. This prophetic celebration of God’s closeness to his People prefigures the coming of the Son of God, who in the fullness of time “took flesh and dwelt among us.” In her Liturgy the Church in every age takes up this song of gratitude for God’s merciful love, which guides all history to its appointed end.”

In another General Audience he commented that, “the Canticle of the three young men depicts a sort of cosmic procession filing past, beginning in heaven, peopled by angels, where sun, moon and stars also shine.”

This idea of the cosmic procession immediately makes me think of the wonderful account of Jacob’s ladder. The facade of Bath Abbey (below) has the most wonderful depiction of this. The Psalmody and Canticles surely provide a sound ladder so that we can join the cosmic procession.

ladder 2


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