Sunday, March 4, 2018

Compline During Lent - III Sunday of Lent to Passion Sunday

As we work out way gradually through the holy season of Lent, the Dominican Breviary refreshes us with a new Nunc dimittis antiphon beginning tonight at Compline.  We will use this antiphon up till the Saturday before Passion Sunday exclusive.

This time, the antiphon is the famous "Media vita", which is a humble acknowledgement of our utter helplessness against the power of sin and a somber plea for help from our "Holy God, holy Mighty One, holy and merciful Savior ."  This antiphon is actually an old responsory, and it is said that when chanting it, St. Thomas Aquinas was brought to tears.

This antiphon could easily be our mantra throughout the year and we can draw much spiritual fruit from meditating on it. May St. Thomas pray for us, that we be granted the grace to feel true sorrow for our sins, to repent for them, and for the grace to turn to God in our weakness and frailty.

St. Thomas Aquinas...pray for us.

From the Ist Sunday of Lent through Passion Sunday, the responsory is changes as follows:

In the Office of Sundays and feast days the responsory is:
.  In peace * I will lie down and sleep comes at once.
On all other days, the responsory is:
.  Into your hands O Lord, * I commend my spirit.
The resposory In peace is is  not repeated and is followed immediately by:
.  I will give no sleep to my eyes, to my eyelids will give no slumber. - I will lie down and sleep and sleep comes at once. - Glory.  . In peace I will like down and sleep comes at once.
This is followed immediately by the hymn for Lent:

Christ, qui lux es et dies,
Noctis tenebras detegis
Lucisque lumen crederis,
Lumen beatum praedicans.

Precamur sancta Domine,
Defende nos in hac nocte:
Sit nobis in te requies,
Quietam noctem tribue.

Ne gravis somnus irruat,
Nec hostis nos subripiat,
Nec caro illi consentiens
Nos tibi reos statuat.

Oculi somnum capiant,
Cor ad te semper vigilet:
Dextera tua protegat
Famulos, qui te diligunt.

Defensor noster aspice,
Insidiantes reprime,
Guberna tuos famulos,
Quos Sanguine nercatus es.

Memento nostril Domine,
In gravi isto corpore:
Qui es defensor animæ,
Adesto nobis Domine.

Præsta Pater omnipotens,
Per Jesum Christum Dominum.
Qui tecum in perpetuum
Regnat cum sancto Spiritu.

You are, O Christ, the light and day
Who chases nightly shades away;
Yourself, the light of light confessed,
Proclaim to us the brightness blest.

O holy Lord, we pray that you
May guard us well this whole night through;
In you, O let us find repose
All peaceful till the night shall close.

Let not dull sleep our spirits quell,
Ward off from us the foe from hell,
Nor let the flesh with him unite
To make us guilty in your site.

Then let our eyes due slumber take,
But hearts to you forever wake;
And may your right arm from above
Shield all who turn to you with love.

O strong Defender, hear our prayer,
Repel our foes and break each snare;
Control your servants, be their guide,
Who for their ransom bled and died.

Remember us, O Lord we pray
In weary body here today;
From every ill the soul defend,
Be with us, Lord, until the end.

Almighty Father, this accord
Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
Who, with the Holy Spirit true,
For ever reigns in bliss with you.
The antiphon for the Canticle of Simeon, from the III Sunday of Lent to Passion Sunday exclusive (except on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary), is:

Ant.  In the midst of life, we are in death.  To whom do we look for help but to you, Lord, whose anger, with good reason, is enkindled because of our sins? * Holy God, holy Mighty One, holy and merciful Savior, give us not over to bitter death.  . Do not reject us now that we are old; when our strength fails do not forsake us, Lord. - Holy God.