Sunday, November 29, 2015

Matins canticles for Advent/3: Isaiah 49:7-13

I've previously provided notes on the first two Third Nocturn canticles used at Matins in the Benedictine Office during Advent:

Isaiah 40:10-17
Isaiah 42:10-16

The third canticle set for Sunday Matins during Advent is from Isaiah 49.

Isaiah 49:7-13 
1. Hæc dicit Dominus, redemptor Israël, Sanctus ejus, ad contemptibilem animam, ad abominatam gentem, ad servum dominorum:
Thus saith the Lord the redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to the soul that is despised, to the nation that is abhorred, to the servant of rulers:
2. Reges videbunt,et consurgent principes, et adorabunt propter Dominum, quia fidelis est, et Sanctum Israël qui elegit te.
Kings shall see, and princes shall rise up, and adore for the Lord' s sake, because he is faithful, and for the Holy One of Israel, who hath chosen thee. 
3. Hæc dicit Dominus: In tempore placito exaudivi te, et in die salutis auxiliatus sum tui:
Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee
4. et servavi te, et dedi te in fœdus populi, ut suscitares terram, et possideres hæreditates dissipatas; 
and I have preserved thee, and given thee to be a covenant of the people, that thou mightest raise up the earth, and possess the inheritances that were destroyed: 
5. ut diceres his qui vincti sunt: Exite, et his qui in tenebris: Revelamini.
That thou mightest say to them that are bound: Come forth: and to them that are in darkness: shew yourselves.
6. Super vias pascentur, et in omnibus planis pascua eorum. 
They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in every plain. 
7. Non esurient neque sitient, et non percutiet eos æstus et sol, quia miserator eorum reget eos, et ad fontes aquarum potabit eos.  
They shall not hunger, nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun strike them: for he that is merciful to them, shall be their shepherd, and at the fountains of waters he shall give them drink.
8. Et ponam omnes montes meos in viam, et semitæ meæ exaltabuntur. 
And I will make all my mountains a way, and my paths shall be exalted. 
9. Ecce isti de longe venient, et ecce illi ab aquilone et mari, et isti de terra australi.  
Behold these shall come from afar, and behold these from the north and from the sea, and these from the south country
10. Laudate, cæli, et exsulta, terra; jubilate, montes, laudem, quia consolatus est Dominus populum suum, et pauperum suorum miserebitur.
Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth, ye mountains, give praise with jubilation: because the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his poor ones.

These verses form part of the 'second servant song' of Isaiah.

St Paul makes it clear that it applies to Jesus in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2:

"And now, to further that work, we entreat you not to offer God’s grace an ineffectual welcome. 2 I have answered thy prayer, he says, in a time of pardon, I have brought thee help in a day of salvation. And here is the time of pardon; the day of salvation has come already."

The verses set out prophesies of the coming of Jesus, his rejection by the Jews, and his mission of freeing mankind, imprisoned by sin.  Above all it talks of his mercy on the people who have fallen away.

While the verses given here talk about the redemption of Israel, the verse immediately preceding it makes it clear that his mission is a universal one:

"...I have appointed thee to be the light of the Gentiles, in thee I will send out my salvation to the furthest corners of the earth."