Benedictus also known as the Canticle of Zechariah, is one of the hymns for Maundy Thursday in Holy Week. It was sung by the Jewish priest Zechariah, father of St. John the Baptist, in thanks for the son bestowed upon him by God.
The angel Gabriel had prophesied to Zechariah that his wife would bear them a son who would make ready the way for the Lord. However, Zechariah was doubtful that this would happen as both he and his wife were well advanced in years. As punishment for not trusting to the word and promise of God Zechariah was struck dumb by Gabriel, and was unable to speak. As foretold his wife conceived, and gave birth to a son who would become Saint John the Baptist. When Zechariah wrote on a tablet that his son was to be named John his speech returned, and he sang the Benedictus in thanksgiving to God for the fulfilment of the prophecy.
It is sung here by the group Magnificat.
The arrangement was composed by Tomás Luis Victoria.
Listen to Benedictus Dominus
Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel: quia visitavit, et fecit, redemptionem plebis suae:
Et erexit cornu salutis nobis,
In domo David pueri sui,
Sicut locutus est per os sanctorum,
Qui a saeculo sunt, prophetarum eius,
Salutem ex inimicis nostris,
Et de manu omnium, qui oderunt nos;
Ad faciendam misericordiam cum patribus nostris,
Et memorari testamenti sui sancti,
Iusiurandum, quod iuravit ad Abraham patrem nostrum,
Daturum se nobis,
Ut sine timore, de manu inimicorum liberati,
In sanctitate et iustitia coram ipso
Omnibus diebus nostris.
Et tu, puer, propheta Altissimi vocaberis:
Praeibis enim ante faciem Domini parare vias eius,
Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi eius
In remissionem peccatorum eorum,
Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri,
In quibus visitabit nos oriens ex alto,
illuminare his, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent,
Ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
Because he hath visited and wrought the Redemption of his people:
And hath raised up a horn of salvation to us,
In the house of David his servant
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy Prophets,
Who are from the beginning:
Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform, mercy to our fathers:
And to remember His holy covenant.
The oath which he swore to Abraham our Father,
That he would grant to us.
That being delivered from the hands of our Enemies
We may serve him without fear.
In holiness and justice before him,
All our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:
For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord To prepare his ways.
To give knowledge of salvation to his people,
Unto the remission of their sins.
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God:
In which the Orient from on high hath visited Us.
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in The shadow of death: to direct our feet in the Way of peace.