From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.
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:
℣. Jube, domne, benedicere.
℣. Pray, Father, give thy blessing.
The priest answers:
Noctem quietam, et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens.
May the Almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.
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 quærens quem devoret: cui resistite fortes in fide. Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis.
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, O Lord, have mercy on us.
The choir answers:
℟, Deo gratias.
℟. Thanks be to God.
Then the priest:
℣. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
℟. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.
℟. 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 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 me.
The priest then says:
Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam æternam.
May Almighty God be merciful to you, and, forgiving your sins, bring you to everlasting life.
Indulgentiam, absolutionem, ct remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.
℣. Converte nos, Deus, Salutaris noster.
℟. Et averte iram tuam a nobis.
℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.
Gloria Patri, etc. Alleluia.
℣. Convert us, O God our Saviour.
℟. And turn away thy anger from us.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory, etc. Alleluia.
ANT. Have mercy.
The first Psalm expresses the confidence with which the just man sleeps in peace; but the wicked know not what calm rest is. The beautiful countenance of our risen Lord sheds light and gladness upon the faithful, and renews the hope of their own resurrection, which is to be after their sleep in the tomb.
Cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus justitiæ meæ: * in tribulatione dilatasti mihi.
Miserere mei: * et exaudi orationem meam.
Filii hominum, usquequo 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 peccare: * quæ dicitis in cordibus 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 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 self same, I will sleep, and I will rest.
For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.
The second Psalm gives the motives of the just man’s confidence, even during the dangers of the night. Then we have God himself speaking, and promising to them that serve him eternal happiness, and the sight of the Saviour whose Resurrection gave them life.
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.
A sagitta volante in die, a negotio perambulante in tenebris: * ab incursu, et dæmonio 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 noonday 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 deliver him, and I will glorify him.
I will fill him with length of days: and I will show him my salvation.
The third 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. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
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. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Te lucis ante terminum,
Rerum Creator, poscimus,
Ut pro tua clementia
Sis præsul et custodia.
Procul recedant somnia,
Et noctium phantasmata;
Hostemque nostrum comprime,
Ne polluantur corpora.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito
In sempiterna sæcula.
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.
Glory be to God the Father,
and to the Son, who rose from the dead,
and to the Paraclete,
for everlasting ages.
Tu autem in nobis es, Domine, et nomen sanctum tuum invocatum est super nos; ne derelinquas nos, Domine Deus noster.
℟. In manus tuas, Domine: Commendo spiritum meum. * Alleluia, alleluia. In manus tuas.
℣. Redemisti nos, Domine Deus veritatis. * Alleluia, alleluia. Commendo.
In manus tuas.
℣. Custodi nos, Domine, ut pupillam oculi. Alleluia.
℟. Sub umbra alarum tuarum protege nos, alleluia. 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.
℟. Into thy hands, O Lord: I commend my spirit. * Alleluia, alleluia. Into thy hands.
℣. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God of truth. * Alleluia, alleluia.
Into thy hands.
℣. Preserve us, O Lord, as the apple of thine eye. Alleluia.
℟. Protect us under the shadow of thy wings, alleluia. 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.
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 tuæ Israel.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, etc.
ANT. Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes, custodi nos dormientes: ut vigilemus cum Christo, et requiescamus in pace. Alleluia.
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. Alleluia.
℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Visita, quæsumus Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias inimici ab ea longe repelle: angeli tui sancti habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant: et benedictio tua sit super nos semper. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.
LET US PRAY
Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this house and family, and drive from it all snares of the enemy: let thy holy angels dwell herein, who may keep us in peace, and may thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℣. Benedicamus Domino.
℟. Deo gratias.
Benedicat et custodiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.
℣. Let us bless the Lord.
℟. Thanks be to God.
May the almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless and preserve us.
Anthem to the Blessed Virgin
There is a venerable tradition connected with this joyous anthem. It is related that a fearful pestilence raged in Rome, during one of the Easters of the pontificate of St Gregory the Great. In order to propitiate the anger of God, the holy Pope prescribed a public procession of both people and clergy, in which was to be carried the portrait of our blessed Lady painted by St Luke. The procession was advancing in the direction of St Peter’s; and as the holy picture, followed by the Pontiff, was carried along, the atmosphere became pure and free from pestilence. Having reached the bridge which joins the city with the Vatican, a choir of angels was heard singing above the picture, and saying: ‘Rejoice, O Queen of heaven, alleluia! for he whom thou didst deserve to bear, alleluia! hath risen, as he said, alleluia!’ As soon as the heavenly music ceased, the saintly Pontiff took courage, and added these words to those of the angels: ‘Pray to God for us, alleluia!’ Thus was composed the Paschal anthem to our Lady. Raising his eyes to heaven, Gregory saw the destroying angel standing on the top of the Mole of Hadrian, and sheathing his sword. In memory of this apparition the Mole was called the Castle of Sant’ Angelo, and on the dome was placed an immense statue representing an angel holding his sword in the scabbard.
Regina cœli, lætare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
℣. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
℟. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Deus, qui per Resurrectionem Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es: præsta quæsumus, ut per ejus Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.
℣. Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum.
Rejoice, O Queen of heaven, alleluia,
For he whom thou didst deserve to bear, alleluia,
Hath risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray to God for us, alleluia.
℣. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
℟. For the Lord hath truly risen, alleluia.
Let us Pray.
O God, who, by the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, didst vouchsafe to make the world rejoice; grant, we beseech thee, that by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may receive the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℣. May the divine assistance remain always with us.
Then in secret, Pater, Ave, and Credo, p. 27.
 According to the Monastic Rite, as follows:
Te lucis ante terminum, Rerum Creator, poscimus, Ut solita clementia Sis præsul ad custodiam. Procul recedant somnia Et noctium phantasmata; Hostemque nostrum comprime Ne polluantur corpora. Gloria tibi Domine Qui surrexisti a mortuis, Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu In sempiterna sæcula.
 1 Thess. v. 10.
 In the Monastic Rite, this Response is as follows:
℣. Et cum fratribus nostris absentibus. Amen. ℟. And with our absent brethren. Amen.