Skip to content

Buy 1 Get 1 50% OFF - FREE Shipping $60+

Nunc Dimittis

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

(The Canticle of Simeon).

Found in St. Luke's Gospel (2:29-32) , is the last in historical sequence of the three great Canticles of the New Testament, the other two being the Magnificat (Canticle of Mary) and the Benedictus (Canticle of Zachary) . All three are styled, by way of eminence, the "Evangelical Canticles" (see CANTICLE).

The title is formed from the opening words in the Latin Vulgate, "Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine" etc.). ("Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord" etc.). The circumstances under which Simeon uttered his song-petition, thanksgiving, and prophecy are narrated by St. Luke (2:21-35) (see CANDLEMAS ). The words following those quoted above, "according to thy word in peace", are explained by 5:26 : "And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost , that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord." Brief though the Canticle is, it abounds in Old-Testament allusions. Thus, in the following verses, "Because my eyes have seen thy salvation " alludes to Isaiah 52:10 , rendered afterwards by St. Luke (3:6) , "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God ". Verse 31 , "Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples" accords with the Psalmist (97:2) ; and verse 32 , "A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel ", recalls Isaiah 42:6 .

To all our readers, Please don't scroll past this.

Deacon Keith Fournier Today, we humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. If you donate just $5.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online is useful. If Catholic Online has given you $5.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, Catholic information that their work matters. If you are one of our rare donors, you have our gratitude and we warmly thank you. Help us do more >

The text of the Nunc Dimittis is given in full in the brief evening prayer found in the Apostolic Constitutions (Book VII, xlviii) (P.G., 1, 1057). In the Roman Office, the canticle is assigned to Complin. If St. Benedict did not originate this canonical Hour, he gave to it its liturgical character; but he nevertheless did not include the Canticle, which was afterwards incorporated into the richer Complin Service of the Roman Rite, where it is preceded by the beautiful responsory, "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum" (Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit) etc., with the Antiphon following, "Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes, custodi nos dormientes" (O Lord, keep us waking, guard us sleeping) etc., all this harmonizing exquisitely with the spirit of the Nunc Dimittis and with the general character of the closing Hour of the Office.

In the blessing of the candles on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin , the Canticle, of course, receives great prominence both in its text and in the references to Simeon in the preceding prayers. Its last verse, "Lumen ad revelationem" etc., forms the Antiphon which not only precedes and follows the Canticle, but also precedes every verse of it and the Gloria Patri and Sicut erat of the concluding doxology. The symbolism of the Canticle and of its Antiphon is further emphasized by the lighted candles of Candlemas. The complete Canticle also forms the Tract in the Mass of the feast, when the 2 February follows Septuagesima.

Free Online Catholic Classes for Anyone, Anywhere - Click Here

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.


Saints Fun Facts Coloring Book FREE PDF

Free PDFs: Hail Mary, Our Father, How to Pray the Rosary & more

PDF educational & learning resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers and it’s 100% FREE. How to Pray the Rosary, Hail Mary, Our Father, Saints, Prayers, Coloring Books, Novenas, Espanol and more. All FREE to download and faithful to the Magisterium. Download Now >


Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!