An interesting feature of our Prayer Book, like the 1979 book, is that the number of Canticles for Morning and Evening Prayer is noticeably expanded. The Prayer Books have always offered choices, if originally only a Psalm as an alternative for each Canticle. But as the centuries went by, more options got thrown in, and now we’ve got quite a bunch. But, unlike the 1979 book, it looks like ours will be placed in a collection after the Office so as not to interrupt the page-turning flow of the liturgy. This seems to me like a smart move.
If you, like me, are interested in making use of the various options of our Prayer Book in a sensible and orderly way, consider Advent a good opportunity to make use of Canticle 1, Magna et mirabilia. Taken from Revelation 15, this brief canticle praise God as the great King of all creation. A rubric rightly observes that it is “especially suitable for use in Advent and Easter.” I would recommend appointing this Canticle in place of the Te Deum on Monday through Saturday mornings during Advent. It gives the Morning Office an extra Advent flair, as well as providing a shorter option than the lengthy Te Deum.
Prayer Book traditionalists might shake their heads at this advice, pointing out that the Te Deum ought to be said daily, and the use of alternative Canticles should rarely, if ever, be done. To that I would observe that in the monastic offices, from which the Prayer Book tradition was born, the Te Deum was only said on Sundays, and even then possibly only on feast days. (I’m not intimately familiar with the tradition; I just know it wasn’t daily). So if you want to make use of the fancy optional extra canticles in the new Prayer Book, this is one part of how to implement it.
One thought on “A Canticle for Advent: Magna et mirabilia”