A few days ago we looked at the canticle Magna et mirabilia as a great canticle option for the season of Advent. Today let’s look at another one, Quærite Dominum (#4 in the present draft documents). The rubric accompanying it observes that it is especially suitable for use during Lent, but if you look at all the options available, there are quite a few that are suggested for Lent… that season could end up a bit crowded. So consider making use of it during Advent instead.
Taken from Isaiah 55, this canticle starts off with a penitential tone: “Seek the Lord while he wills to be found… Let the wicked forsake their ways… let them turn to the Lord.” But this penitential aspect doesn’t overpower the canticle like in other cases; the bulk of Quaerite Dominum focuses on God’s redemptive work, especially with images of creation. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours, the water cycle is a picture of God’s providence, the harvest cycle is a picture of God’s providence, the cycle of God’s Word is a picture of God’s providence. In this second week of Advent, the theme of God’s Word (particularly in the Scriptures) is already made prominent by the Sunday Collect, sometimes called “the Scripture Collect”, which we can take a look at in a couple days.
Furthermore, the accomplishment of of God’s purpose and the prospering of his Word at the end of the Canticle suggest eschatological themes, pictures of the End of the Age, to which the entire season of Advent points. In short, this Canticle is a great option to bring into the Daily Office this season!
As Magna et mirabilia has already been recommended for Morning Prayer, consider this Canticle for Evening Prayer, in place of the Nunc dimittis. If you are a regular or semi-regular pray-er of Compline, the night office, then you will get the Nunc dimittis in that liturgy instead, so it’s more “expendable” to Evening Prayer in the big picture of the Prayer Book liturgy.