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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:

Pray, Father, give thy blessing.

V. Jube, Domine, benedi


The Priest answers:

May the Almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.

R. Amen.

Noctem quietam, et finem
perfectum concedat nobis
Dominus omnipotens.
R. Amen.

The Lector then reads these words, from the first Epistle of St. Peter:


Brethren, be sober and watch for your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour resist him, being strong in faith. But thou, Ŏ Lord, have mercy on us.

Fratres Sobrii_estote, et vigilate: quia adversarius vester diabolus, tamquam leo rugiens circuit quærens quem devoret: cui resistite fortes in fide. Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis.

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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 tuis, perducat te ad vitam æternam.

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, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistæ, 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 Joannem 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


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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.

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gravi corde : ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quæritis mendacium?

Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum : * Dominus exaudiet me, cum clamavero ad eum. Irascimini, et nolite pec* dicitis in cordicare: quæ bus vestris, in cubilibus vestris compungimini.

Sacrificate sacrificium justitiæ, et sperate in Domino: *multi dicunt: Quis ostendit nobis bona?

Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui Domine: *dedisti lætitiam in corde


A fructu frumenti, vini et olei sui : * multiplicati sunt.

In pace in idipsum : * dormiam et requiescam. Quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe : *constituisti me.

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 self same, 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, I commend my spirit! words so beautifully appropriate in this Office of the close of day.


In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in æternum: * in justitia tua libera me.

Inclina ad me aurem tuam : * accelera ut eruas


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.

Esto mihi in Deum protectorum, 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


In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum: * redemisti me, Domine, Deus veritatis.

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.


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.


Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi : in protectione Dei cœli 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. *

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