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June 24, 2006


Old Zhou

I think also that the Benedictus, or Canticle of Zechariah, has considerable influence here.

Every morning in Lauds (or Matins), the Benedictus is chanted or prayed by all clergy, monks, nuns who celebrate (or pray) the Office (or Liturgy of the Hours).

This Canticle, from Luke 1:68-79, is Zechariah's celebration at the birth of John the Baptist, his son.

You could say that the Church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist every morning!


Good post. Thanks for posting.

doctor J

I think it's in The Spirit of the Liturgy where Pope Benedict XVI observed that the celebration of the birth of John the Baptist comes precisely at the midpoint from one Christmas to the next, a liturgical expression of John's own recognition of the limits of his mission: "I must now decrease so He may increase."

Starting today, in the liturgical year, we head toward Bethlehem.


Expanding on doctor j's post:

From around Christmas until now, the light in the evenings has been increasing (here in Colorado at least, the sun does not set until nearly 9 PM at this time of year). But from now until Christmas, the days will get shorter. This serves as a symbol of what St. John said (I must now decrease so that He may increase). So, the light becomes less and less until the birth of the Savior (when the sun sets at around 4:30 PM), and then the Light increases until next year's feast of St. John the Baptist. I always thaought that was cool. I love the Liturgical calendar!

John W.

Does anyone connect Zechariah's praising of God with Mary's visit to Elizabeth? I often have mediated that she ministered to both of them which opened his heart (and ultimately his tongue) to the will of God. Elizabeth and John obviously responded in Luke 1:41-45.

Fr. Shawn O'Neal

There's much good praising within the Gospel of Luke, is there not? I am glad that we use all the great praises within our prayer, including that of Simeon with the "Nunc dimittis" during Night Prayer.

I found out within the last few days alone how many people do not understand the liturgical calendar. In many respects, I cannot blame them because there are the occasional collisions between fixed and movable holy days. However, it was tough for some people to understand why the Immaculate Heart of Mary was not celebrated today.


What a splendidly interesting post. Thank you!

To go by the Cath Enc piece, I wasn't just being thick when I found that hymn really hard to understand on Saturday. Hurrah!
(Pride, pride...)


One more significance about the fact that only the birthdays of the Baptist, Our Lady and Jesus are in the calendar: Only these three were born not in a state of original sin. John the Baptist was sanctified in the womb (at the Visitation), so though conceived in original sin, he was born without it.

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