Catholic Hymns And Prayers


That Day Of Wrath, that dreadful day,
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
Both David and the Sibyl say.

What terror then shall us befall,
When lo, the Judge’s steps appall,
About to sift the deeds of all.

The mighty trumpet’s marvellous tone
Shall pierce through each sepulchral stone
And summon all before the throne.

Now Death and Nature in amaze
Behold the Lord His creatures raise,
To meet the Judge’s awful gaze.

The books are opened, that the dead
May have their doom from waht is read,
The record of our conscience dread.

The Lord of judgment sits Him down,
And every secret thing makes known;
No crime escapes His vengeful frown.

Ah, how shall I that day endure?
What partron’s friendly voice secure,
When scarce the just themselves are sure?

O King of dreadful majesty,
Who grantest grace and mercy free,
Grant mercy now and grace to me.

Good Lord, ’twas for my sinful sake,
That Thou our suffering nature didst take;
Then do not now my soul forsake.

In weariness Thy sheep was sought;
Upon the Cross His life was bought;
Alas, if all in vain were wrought.

O just avenging Judge, I pray,
For pity take my sins away,
Before the great accounting-day.

I groan beneath the guilt, which Thou
Canst read upon my blushing brow;
But spare, O God, Thy suppliant now.

Thou who didst Mary’s sins unbind,
And mercy for the robber find,
Dost filled with hope my anxious mind.

My feeble prayers can make no claim,
Yet, gracious Lord, for Thy great Name,
Redeem me from the quenchless flame.

At Thy right hand, give me a place
Among Thy sheep, a child of grace,
Far from the goats’ accursed race.

Yea, when Thy justly kindled ire
Shall sinners hurl to endless fire,
Oh, call me to Thy chosen choir.

In suppliant prayer I prostrate bend,
My contrite heart like ashes rend,
Regard, O Lord, my latter end.

Oh, on that day, that tearful day,
When man to judgment wakes from clay,
Be thou the trembling sinner’s stay,
And spare him, God, we humbly pray.
Yea, grant to all, O Saviour Blest,
Who die in Thee, the Saints’ sweet rest.

Dies Iræ, dies illa,
Solvet sæclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando Judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulchra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quicquid latet, apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum, miser, tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus?
Cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendæ majestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.

Recordare, Jesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuæ viæ:
Ne me perdas illa die.

Quærens me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Juste judex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meæ non sunt dignæ:
Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum præsta,
Et ab hædis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Pie Jesu, Domine,
Dona eis requiem.

Author
Thomas of Celano, 13th century

 

Notes

Translation:

stanzas 1-5, 10, 14, 17, 18 by W.F. Wingfield, the remainder by Father Aylward, O.P.

Analysis:

The first six stanzas are descriptive. They picture with remarkable brevity and detail the Judgment scene of the Scriptures.


The remaining stanzas are lyric in character and express the anguish of one of the multitude there present in spirit--his pleading before the Judge, who, while on earth, sought him unceasingly over the hard and thorny ways from Bethlehem to Calvary; and now, in anticipation of the Judgment, pleads before a Saviour of infinite mercy, who, on Judgment Day, will be secure.


The seventh stanza serves to connect the descriptive with the lyric part of the hymn. In it the soul acknowledges the futility of expecting aid from creatures--for even the Saints and Angels will be Judged.

The eighth stanza represents Christ in the twofold character of “King of awful majesty” in the Last Judgment, and “Fount of loving piety” in the present life.


The next six stanzas (9-14) develop the thought of God’s mercy. They comprise two divisions of the three stanzas each. The last stanza of each division contains an appropriate prayer. The first division (stanzas 9-11) deals with the first basis on which an appeal for mercy may rest, viz., on the labors and sufferings of Christ. The second division (12-14) deals with the second basis on which an appeal for mercy may rest, viz., on the repentance of the sinner.


In the fifteenth stanza the Scriptural division of the sheep (the just) from the goats (the reprobates) is set before us: in the sixteenth stanza the picture of the Judgment is concluded with the “depart ye cursed,” and “come ye blessed” of the Scriptures.

 
taken from the book The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal, by Matthew Britt, O.S.B.