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Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna

Gregorian Requiem Chants of the Requiem Mass
Gregorian Requiem Chants of the Requiem Mass
“Requiem Mass and Office for the Dead” CD is available from the Rosary Bay.

Líbera me (“Deliver me”) is a Roman Catholic responsory that is sung in the Office of the Dead and at the absolution of the dead, a service of prayers for the dead said beside the coffin immediately after the Requiem Mass and before burial. The text of Libera me asks God to have mercy upon the deceased person at the Last Judgment.

Libera me is begun by a cantor, who sings the versicles alone, and the responses are sung by the choir. The text is written in the first person singular, “Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death on that fearful day,” a dramatic substitution in which the choir speaks for the dead person.

In the traditional Office, “Libera me” is also said on All Souls’ Day (November 2nd) and whenever all three nocturns of Matins of the Dead are recited.

Libera me, Domine

Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna, in die illa tremenda
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra
Dum veneris iudicare saeculum per ignem.

Tremens factus sum ego, et timeo, dum discussio venerit, atque ventura ira.
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra
Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitatis et miseriæ, dies magna et amara valde.

Dum veneris iudicare saeculum per ignem.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, day of wrath, calamity and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness,

When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Adrian Fortescue (1913). “Libera Me”.

Sacramentals
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