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Simeon’s Song for the Feast of the Presentation

Cecilia Music - published on 02/02/17

Cistercian monks chant the Nunc dimittis

Today we remember the Feast of the Presentation, full of theological significance. Drawing on the “Nunc Dimittis,” or the “Canticle Simeon,” a part of night prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, we consider the example of Simeon:

In the gospel of Luke (Lk 2:25-35), we read that Simeon was a just man who feared the Lord. The name “Simeon” in Hebrew means “God has listened.” When Jesus was presented in the temple by Mary and Joseph, the old man, who had received the promise of living until the coming of the Messiah, was moved by the Holy Spirit and entered the temple, took Jesus in his arms, and praised God. Simon expressed the joy of this extraordinary and long-awaited encounter in a song of thanksgiving, known most commonly as the “Canticle of Simeon.” In the liturgy, in Latin, it is “Nunc Dimittis,” a meditation that reveals the depths of the man’s faith and spirituality. Simeon recognized the saving presence of God in a newborn child. His faithfulness, his peace before death, his recognition of God in the simplicity of a child make Simeon a model of spirituality.

Costanza D’Ardia

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