This Office, which concludes the day, commences by a warning of the dangers of the night: then immediately follows the public Confession of our sins, as a powerful means of propitiating the divine justice, and obtaining God’s help, now that we are going to spend so many hours in the unconscious, and therefore dangerous, state of sleep, which is also such an image of death.
The Lector, addressing the Priest, says to him:
|V. Jube, domne, benedicere.||V. Pray, father, give thy blessing.|
The priest answers:
|Noctem quietam, et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens. R. Amen.||May the almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. R. Amen.|
The lector then reads these words, from the first Epistle of St. Peter:
|Fratres: Sobrii estote, et vigilate: quia adversarius vester diabolus, tamquam leo rugiens, circuit quaerens quem devoret: cui resistite fortes in fide. Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis.||Brethren, be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, like a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour: whom resist ye, strong in faith. But thou, O Lord, have mercy on us.|
The Choir answers:
|R. Deo gratias.||R. Thanks be to God.|
Then the Priest:
|V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.||V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.|
|R. Qui fecit coelum et terram.||R. Who hath made heaven and earth.|
Then the Lord’s Prayer is recited in secret; after which the priest says the Confiteor, and, when he has finished, the Choir says:
|Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis nostris, perducat te ad vitam aeternam.||May Almighty God be merciful to thee, and forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.|
The Priest having answered Amen, the Choir repeats the Confiteor, thus:
|Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Johanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus sanctis, et tibi, Pater: quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Johannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes sanctos, et te, Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.||I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to thee, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, and thee, Father, to pray to our Lord God for me.|
The Priest then says:
|Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam aeternam. R. Amen.|
Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. R. Amen.
V. Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster.
|May Almighty God be merciful to you, and, forgiving your sins, hung you to life everlasting. R. Amen.|
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins. R. Amen.
V. Convert us, O God, our Saviour.
ANT. Have mercy.
The first psalm expresses the confidence with which the just man sleeps in peace; but it, also, rebukes those tepid Christians, whose dull hearts are but too often enslaved to vanity and lies, and exhorts them to examine, at the close of the day, the thoughts of their hearts, and be sorry for them at that time of stillness and repose.
|Cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus justitiae meae: * in tribulatione dilatasti mihi.|
Miserere mei: * et exaudi orationem meam.
Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde? * ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quaeritis mendacium?
Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum: * Dominus exaudiet me, cum clamavero ad eum.
Irascimini, et nolite peccare: * quae dicitis in cordibus vestris, in cubilibus vestris compungimini.
Sacrificate sacrificium justitiae, et sperate in Domino: * multi dicunt: Quis ostendit nobis bona?
Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui Domine: * dedisti laetitiam in corde meo.
A fructu frumenti, vini et olei sui: * multiplicati sunt.
In pace in idipsum: * dormiam et requiescam.
Quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe: * constituisti me.
|When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, thou hast enlarged me.|
Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?
Know ye also that the Lord hath made his Holy One wonderful: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him.
Be ye angry and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.
Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord:
many say, Who showeth us good things?
The light of thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: thou hast given gladness in my heart.
By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they are multiplied.
In peace, in the selfsame, I will sleep, and I will rest.
For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.
The Church has introduced here the first six Verses of the thirtieth Psalm, because they contain the prayer which our Saviour made when dying: Into thy hands, O Lord, O commend my spirit! words so beautifully appropriate in this Office of the close of day.
[Note - these verses were omitted from the Pope St. Pius X revision of the Divine Office of 1911.]
|In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum: * in justitia tua libera me.|
Incline ad me aurem tuam: * accelera ut eruas me.
Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in domum refugii: * ut salvum me facias.
Quoniam fortitudo mea, et refugium meum es tu: * et propter nomen tuum deduces me, et enutries me.
Educes me de laqueo hoc, quem absconderunt mihi: * quoniam tu es protector meus.
In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum: * redemisti me, Domine, Deus veritatis.
|In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in thy justice.|
Bow down thy ear to me: make haste to deliver me.
Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge, to save me.
For thou art my strength, and my refuge: and for thy name's sake thou wilt lead me, and nourish me.
Thou wilt bring me out of this snare, which they have hidden for me: for thou art my protector.
Into thy hands I commend my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth.
The third psalm gives the motives of the just man’s confidence, even during the dangers of the night. The description here given of Peace of mind, should make the sinner long for a reconciliation with his God, that so he, too, may enjoy that divine protection, without which there can be no security or happiness in this life of peril and misery.
|Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi: * in protectione Dei coeli commorabitur.|
Dicet Domino: Susceptor meus es tu, et refugium meum: * Deus meus, sperabo in eum.
Quoniam ipse liberavit me de laqueo venantium: * et a verbo aspero.
Scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi: * et sub pennis ejus sperabis.
Scuto circumdabit te veritas ejus: * non timebis a timore nocturno.
A sagitta volante in die, a negotio perambulante in tenebris: * ab incursu, et daemonio meridiano.
Cadent a latere tuo mille, et decem millia a dextris tuis: * ad te autem non appropinquabit.
Verumtamen oculis tuis considerabis: * et retributionem peccatorum videbis
Quoniam tu es, Domine, spes mea: * Altissimum posuisti refugium tuum.
Non accedet ad te malum: * et flagellum non appropinquabit tabernaculo tuo.
Quoniam angelis suis mandavit de te: * ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.
In manibus portabunt te: * ne forte offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum.
Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis: * et conculcabis leonem et draconem.
Quoniam in me speravit, liberabo eum: * protegam eum, quoniam cognovit nomen meum.
Clamabit ad me, et ego exaudiam eum: * cum ipso sum in tribulatione, eripiam eum et glorificabo eum.
Longitudine dierum replebo eum: * et ostendam illi salutare meum.
|He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most high, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven.|
He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust.
For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
Of the arrow that flieth in the day: of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noon day devil.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast said: Thou, O Lord, art my hope: Thou hast made the Most High thy refuge.
There shall no evil come to thee, nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
For he hath given his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt walk upon the asp and basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
God will say of thee: Because he hoped in me, I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known my name.
He Will cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will de liver him, and I will glorify him.
I will fill him with length of days: and I will show him my salvation.
The fourth psalm invites the Servants of God to persevere with fervour, in the prayers they offer during the Night. The faithful should say this psalm in a spirit of gratitude to God, for raising up, in the Church, adorers of his holy name, whose grand vocation is to lift up their hands, day and night, for the safety of Israel. On such prayers depend the happiness and the destinies of the world.
|Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum: * omnes servi Domini.|
Qui statis in domo Domini: * in atriis domus Dei nostri.
In noctibus extollite manus vestras in sancta: * et benedicite Dominum.
Benedicat te Dominus ex Sion: * qui fecit coelum et terram.
ANT. Miserere mei, Domine, et exaudi orationem meam.
|Behold now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord.|
Who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
In the nights lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord.
Say to Israel: May the Lord out of Sion bless thee, he that made heaven and earth.
ANT. Have mercy on me, O Lord, and hear my prayer.
[See appendix for version according to Monastic usage.]
|Te lucis ante terminum,|
Rerum Creator, poscimus,
Ut pro tua clementia
Sis praesul et custodia.
Procul recedant somnia,
Praesta, Pater piissime,
|Before the closing of the light, we beseech thee, Creator of all things! that, in thy clemency, thou be our protector and our guard.|
May the dreams and phantoms of night depart far from us; and do thou repress our enemy, lest our bodies be profaned.
|Tu autem in nobis es, Domine, et nomen sanctum tuum invocatum est super nos; ne derelinquas nos, Domine Deus noster.|
R. In manus tuas, Domine: * commendo spiritum meum.
V. Custodi nos, Domine, ut pupillam oculi.
ANT. Salva nos.
|But thou art in us, O Lord, and thy holy name has been invoked upon us: forsake us not, O Lord our God.|
R. Into thy hands, O Lord: * I commend my spirit.
V. Preserve us, O Lord, as the apple of thine eye.
ANT. Save us.
The canticle of the venerable Simeon - who, while holding the divine Infant in his arms, proclaimed Him to be the Light of the Gentiles, and then slept the sleep of the just - admirably expresses the repose of heart which the soul, that is in the Grace of God, will experience in her Jesus; for, as the Apostle says, we may live together with Jesus, whether we are awake or asleep [1 Thess. v. 10].
CANTICLE OF SIMEON
(St. Luke ii.)
|Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine: * secundum verbum tuum in pace. |
Quia viderunt oculi mei: * salutare tuum.
Quod parasti: * ante faciem omnium populorum.
Lumen ad revelationem Gentium: * et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, etc.
ANT. Salva nos, Domino, vigilantes: custodi nos dormientes, ut vigilemus cum Christo, et requiescamus in pace.
|Now dost thou dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word, in peace.|
Because my eyes have seen thy salvation.
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples.
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
ANT. Save us, O Lord, while awake, and watch us as we sleep; that we may watch with Christ, and rest in peace.
V. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
R. Sed libera nos a malo.
Credo in Deum, &c.
V. Carnis resurrectionem.
R. Vitam aeternam. Amen.
V. Benedictus es, Domine Deus Patrum nostrorum.
R. Et laudabilis et gloriosus in saecula.
V. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu.
R. Laudemus, et superexaltemus eum in saecula.
V. Benedictus es, Domine, in firmamento caeli.
R. Et laudabilis, et gloriosus, et superexaltatus in saecula.
V. Benedicat et custodiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
V. Dignare Domine, nocte ista.
R. Sine peccato nos custodire.
V. Miserere nostri, Domine.
R. Miserere nostri.
V. Fiat misericordia tua Domine, super nos.
R. Quemadmodum speravimus in te.
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
|Lord have mercy on us.|
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil.
I believe in God, &c.
V. The resurrection of the body.
R. And life everlasting. Amen.
V. Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers.
R. And praiseworthy and glorious for ever.
V. Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost
R. Let us praise, and magnify him for ever.
V. Thou art blessed, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven.
R. And praiseworthy, and glorious, and magnified for ever.
V. May the Almighty and merciful Lord bless us and keep us.
V. Vouchsafe, O Lord, this night.
R. To keep us without sin.
V. Have mercy on us, O Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Let thy mercy be upon us, O Lord.
R. As we have hoped in thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
After these Prayers, (which are omitted if the Office be of a double rite,) the Priest says:
|V. Dominus vobiscum.|
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
Benedicat et custodiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.
|V. The Lord be with you.|
R. And with thy spirit.
LET US PRAY
V. The Lord be with you.
May the almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless and preserve us.
ANTHEM TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN
|Ave Regina coelorum,|
Ave Domina Angelorum:
Salve radix, salve porta,
Ex qua mundo lux est orta;
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa:
Vale, O valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.
V. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata.
V. Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum.
|Hail, Queen of Heaven! Hail, Queen of Angels! Hail blest Root and Gate, from which came Light upon the world! Rejoice, O glorious Virgin, that surpassest all in beauty! Hail, most lovely Queen! and pray to Christ for us.|
V. Vouchsafe, O Holy Virgin, that I may praise thee.
LET US PRAY
V. May the divine assistance remain always with us.
* In the Monastic Rite, this Response is as follows:
|R. Et cum fratribus nostris absentibus. Amen.||R. And with our absent Brethren. Amen.|
Then, in secret, Pater, Ave, and Credo.
According to the Monastic Rite, as follows:
Te lucis ante terminum,
Rerum Creator, poscimus,
Ut solita clementia
Sis praesul ad custodiam.
Procul recedant somnia
Et noctium phantasmata;
Hostemque nostrum comprime,
Ne polluantur corpora.
Praesta Pater omnipotens,
Per Jesum Christum Dominum,
Qui tecum in perpetuum
Regnat cum Sancto Spiritu.