Nunc dimittis

February 2, 2014

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also called the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, also called Candlemas. The Gospel reading tells of how the Christ-Child, brought to the temple for the first time, was received into the arms of St. Simeon and St. Anna, and of how Simeon sang a canticle that has been set to music hundreds of times since:

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Here is Arvo Pärt’s setting, sung by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir:

Happy Candlemas!

17 Responses to “Nunc dimittis”

  1. Janet Says:

    I was on retreat this weekend and I heard for the first time a beautiful, beautiful hymn called “When Mary Brought Her Treasure.” I can’t find it anywhere online, though, and I can’t remember the melody. I wish you could have heard the sisters singing it.

    I had no idea that there were beautiful hymns for the Presentation.

    The priest gave a very powerful sermon, too. I’ve never been very excited about this feast, but it was an incredibly lovely and meaningful Mass.


  2. cburrell Says:

    I’ve not heard that hymn before either, Janet. I’m slightly envious that you were able to go on retreat, but I’m trying not to be.

  3. stpaulmemphis Says:

    Well, your time will come eventually. I don’t want to cause you to sin. 😉 I see this will post from my work account. I get to have a new quilt square.


  4. cburrell Says:

    And a very nice quilt it is.

    I’m coming to visit your fair country tomorrow — though not your state. We’ll be on the west coast where, I hope, it will be really, really warm.

    • Janet Says:

      I hope for your sake it will be very warm and pleasant. Where are you going? Is it business?


      • cburrell Says:

        Southern California, and strictly for pleasure!

      • cburrell Says:

        Thanks, Craig. I once started watching that series, but I don’t think I ever got to the end of the first episode. At least, I don’t remember much about it, and I certainly don’t remember hearing that music over the credits.

        As you say, it’s very out of keeping with the current state of television.

    • Janet Says:

      Oddly enough, I think you will be further away tomorrow than you usually are.


      • cburrell Says:

        Heh. But closer in spirit.

      • Janet Says:

        I have been longing to go back to Southern CA, but since my daughter graduated, I have no excuse. We have a friend who lets us use her house in Newport Beach, and I am missing it.

        Unbelievably, I find that it is cheaper to fly to CA than to KY (about a quarter of the distance) where she now lives.


  5. Craig Says:

    Thanks for the post.

    It reminded me, and you might know this already, that a setting of the music was also used for the end credits of the original BBC miniseries of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Which I always and still do enjoy, the show and the musical postlude.

    A link, here:

    I can’t imagine any network letting such end credits run interrupted these days, without the requisite, and commonly shouted out, “Coming up next on . . . . ” Which is a shame.

  6. cburrell Says:

    Well, Craig, I replied to you, but for some reason WordPress inserted my reply above, under someone else’s comment.

  7. cburrell Says:

    Janet, we reached the maximum number of nested comments, but I’m replying to your remarks at 10:18, above.

    It would have been interesting to have a look at TAC while we’re down there; I’ve heard a lot about it, but never been there. But it’s on the other side of LA — we’re going to be down near San Diego — and I think it’s unlikely that we’ll make the drive. I’ve got to have time to work on my surfing.

  8. cburrell Says:

    We went to the zoo, enjoyed it very much. We also went to Mass at the San Luis Rey mission, and loved it! The Mass itself was held next door in a modern building, but we had a chance to sit quietly in the old church for a while too. Very lovely. It’s not often that one can find something that old on these shores.

    Yesterday my parents (who are still down there) stumbled upon San Juan Capistrano, and they were quite taken with it.

    We also went to Mass once at a new (c.2007) church in Oceanside called Saint Margaret of Scotland. Stunningly beautiful, especially for a modern building, and evidently a great deal of attention given to the beauty of the worship. If I had been able to stay longer, I’d have gone there again.

  9. stpaulmemphis Says:

    San Juan Capistrano is beautiful. I think that’s the one that has the altar where Junipero Serra said Mass. And there is a new basilica that’s built on the plan of the old one that collapsed that is magnificent.

    I hope you got some warm weather. I noticed you were wearing a jacket at the beach.


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