Thursday, March 01, 2007

Canticle -- By Any Other Name...

When I first joined the team as the editor of Canticle, about eighteen months ago, we discussed the possibility of changing the name of the magazine. Some of us liked the name "Caritas" (after the pope's new encyclical); others wanted a name that was more identifiably a women's magazine (e.g. "Women of Grace"). To be honest, I was eager to see the name changed ... It seemed anachronistic, out of touch with the mainstream (I actually had to look up "canticle" to see what it meant). I thought we could do better.

For a variety of reasons ... most of which had to do with the perceived branding power of the existing magazine ... it was finally decided not to change the name, after all. At first I rolled my eyes ... but then, as I thought about it more, I realized it wasn't a bad decision.

A "canticle," you see, is simply a holy love song -- a poem or refrain based on a portion of Scripture not found in the Psalms. The Magnificat is one such example ... also the mystical poetry contained in the Song of Songs, with its idealized imagery of human love, a sustained metaphor for the nuptial love of Christ the Bridegroom for His Bride (the Church or, according to St. Bernard, the individual soul). Traditionally the Song is applied in a particular way to the Blessed Virgin Mary. For those of you who haven't cracked open that particular book of Scripture in a while, the first stanza reads ...

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
More delightful is your love than wine!
Your name spoken is a spreading perfume --
that is why the maidens love you.

Draw me! --
We will follow you eagerly!
Bring me, O King, to your chambers.
(SoS 1:1-4)

A holy love song ... isn't that what all of life is to be for us? When at the end of my life, God and I review what I did with my time on earth, my most fervent prayer is that He would take those discordant notes and mistimed opportunities and somehow turn them into something that makes the angels sing.
"Canticle." It's got a ring to it ... don't you think?
Under the Mercy.


elena maria vidal said...

Yes, I love the Song of Songs, which in some translations is indeed "The Canticle of Canticles." It is a perfect name for a woman's magazine because it contains the essence of bridal joy which should belong to every Christian woman.

Lisa M. Hendey said...

Lovely sentiments, beautifully stated. Lisa

Cay said...

I love this post.
Thanks for explaining the "Canticle" song to us. It is lovely.

Karen E. said...

I'm so glad you kept the name ... I love it.

Though I love "Caritas", too -- oh, Heidi, just start another magazine on the side .... ;-)

Tess said...

I'm glad I didn't know there was a possibility the name might change. The original name Hearth was also exceptional. It sums up the foundation, imo, and speaks volumes.