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18 August 2012


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Thank you for these insights which break open the meaning and highlight the beauty of the canticle of Zechariah. I find the canticle to be quite poetic, but I can say that since I only attempt the LOTH on an annual basis, which isn't quite frequent enough to become old hat.


I don't think I'd consciously noticed that past, present, future structure before so as to label it as such; but I have noticed the sense of movement in time.

I go back and forth between the canticles seeming old and stale and then there will be a period when they seem always new and fresh.

I started listening to the Divine Office podcasts in part because hearing the canticles makes them seem much fresher. I especially love when they chant them.

I've always thought that "the dawn from on high" is Christ himself. One of his titles in the antiphons leading up to Christmas is "Oriens" which is often translated as "daystar" but which means dawn. In my mind that line is connected with the image of the Paschal candle and Easter Vigil. That moment when the dark church suddenly leaps into brightness from all the massed candles is one of my favorites in the whole year. Once I watched the sun rise from the deck of a ferry on the Adriatic going from Italy to Greece and the Easter vigil reminds me of that vigil, watching the sky go from full dark and how it took forever and then suddenly there was first the tiniest glimmer of light and then slowly the entire sky grew more and more pale and then there is was: the dawn!


I agree that "the dawn from on high" represents Christ, but the act of "the dawn from on high shall break upon us" seems to be placed in the future, while the Incarnation is placed in the present from Zechariah's point of view. So the "breaking upon us" is something that Zechariah prophesies that Christ *shall* do -- it doesn't, I think, refer to the Incarnation ("God has raised up a savior.")

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I think I read something somewhere about this

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