Noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens

Noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens. Amen. May the all-powerful Lord grant unto us a tranquil night and a perfect end. Amen.

The usual English translation for this prayer is May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death, which is said whether the office is recited alone or in common, and which may be said by a layperson. No priestly blessing is given to conclude Compline, although at a Benedictine monastery such as Fontgombault, the abbott does bless each of the brethren with holy water.

Noctem quietam = a tranquil night. Quietus,a,um is quiet, tranquil, peaceful.

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 10.45.19 AMfinem perfectum = a perfect end. The word finem, from finis,is,C has a broad range of meanings, from end, limit, goal, to boundary or territory. Julius Caesar in his famed Commentary on the Gallic Wars employs finem to denote the territories and boundaries (that is the ends of the lands) of various warring parties, including the Helvetii combatting the Germans, “..cum aut suis finibus eos prohibent aut ipsi in eorum finibus bellum gerunt” / “..when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers.” The final finis of human life in this world is death, and we pray for a perfect death, which is to die in the state of grace. This world then gives way to our true and supernatural finis, the vision of God in heaven.

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