ACH NIGHT we sing Compline, the night prayer of the Divine Office. We learnt it before we had children back when we went to Mass at the Maternal Heart Church. We kept it up until somewhere in the blur of having little children we let it slide.
When we were pressed for time we would cut out the psalms. That may be leaving out the most important part, but as layfolk, not obliged to pray them, it seems fair enough.
Now we are back in the groove of the regular 1962 Liber Usualis version. I thought it would help get the baby to sleep, but more often than not she will be wide eyed, taking it all in. The cat also seems attracted to the scene – especially if people kneel down where she can shmooze around them. The older boys can read the Latin. The younger ones have learnt much of it. Dad picks out boys to lead different parts each night.
SO WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP to bringing this into your home? Everyone is going to have a different perspective, but here is my suggestion. Try the hymn for Compline. The prayers to ward off bad dreams are helpful when getting children off to bed.
John Mason Neale’s translation runs thus:
To Thee, before the close of day
Creator of the world, we pray
that with Thy wonted favor, Thou
wouldst be our Guard and Keeper now.
From all ill dreams defend our eyes,
from nightly fears and fantasies:
tread under foot our ghostly foe,
that no pollution we may know.
O Father, that we ask be done
through Jesus Christ Thine only Son,
who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
shall live and reign eternally. Amen.
You could sing this to any long meter tune – same as O Salutaris or O saving Victim for Benediction.
Or sing the Gregorian chant from the Liber Usualis.
(Thank you GregoBase.)
And to help you out with the sheet music, here are a few of my family singing it through.
Lastly, here is the serious rendition with the music scrolling past.
That is just a suggestion. Your mileage may vary. How did you start praying the Liturgy of the Hours? What are your thoughts?