In the Midst of Life We Are in Death

In the midst of life we are in death.
To whom may we look for help,
but from you, Lord,
who for our sins
are justly displeased?

Yet, Lord God most holy,
Lord most mighty,
holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

[Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts.
Do not shut your merciful ears to our prayers,
but spare us,
Lord most holy,
God most mighty,
holy and most merciful Savior,
most worthy Judge eternal.
In our last hour,
do not let us
fall away from you
because of the pains of death.]

Source: Attributed to Notker the Stammerer, battle song from the year A. D. 912, based on the English translation in the Book of Common Prayer.

Bracketed portion seems to be a later addition included in the Book of Common Prayer. See the variants below. Luther’s hymn seems to reflect the repetition.

Most versions render the last line, “deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.”

Original in Latin:

Media vita in morte sumus
quem quaerimus adjutorem
nisi te, Domine,
qui pro peccatis nostris
juste irasceris?

Sancte Deus,
sancte fortis,
sancte et misericors Salvator:
amarae morti ne tradas nos.

Variant 1

In Te speraverunt Patres nostri,
speraverunt et liberasti eos.
Ad Te clamaverunt Patres nostri,
clamaverunt et non sunt confusi.

Sancte Deus, Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:
sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

In you our fathers trusted.
They trusted and you delivered them.
They cried out to you, and they were rescued.
They cried out to you, and they were not disappointed. (from Psalm 22:4-5)

O holy God, glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

Variant 2

Ne projicias nos in tempore senectutis
cum defecerit virtus nostra ne derelinquas nos Domine.

Sancte Deus, Sancte fortis,
Sancte et misericors Salvator,

Amarae morti ne tradas nos.

Noli claudere aures tuas ad preces nostras.
Sancte fortis, Sancte et misericors Salvator,
Amarae morti ne tradas nos.

Qui cognoscis occulta cordis parce peccatis nostris.
Sancte et misericors Salvator,
Amarae morti ne tradas nos.

Do not cast us off in the time of old age;
Do not forsake us when our strength fails, Lord. (from Psalm 71:9)
Lord God most holy, Lord most mighty,
holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

Do not shut your merciful ears to our prayers,
God most mighty, holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

Lord, you  know the secrets of our hearts. (from Psalm 44:21)
Holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

Book of Common Prayer 1559 text in traditional English:

In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour,
but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.

Martin Luther expanded this prayer into a hymn, Mitten wir in leben sind.

1. In the midst of earthly life
Snares of death surround us;
Who shall help us in the strife
Lest the Foe confound us?
Thou only, Lord, Thou only.
We mourn that we have greatly erred,
That our sins Thy wrath have stirred.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

2. In the midst of death’s dark vale
Powers of hell o’ertake us.
Who will help when they assail,
Who secure will make us?
Thou only, Lord, Thou only.
Thy heart is moved with tenderness,
Pities us in our distress.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

3. In the midst of utter woe
All our sins oppress us,
Where shall we for refuge go,
Where for grace to bless us?
To Thee, Lord Jesus, only.
Thy precious blood was shed to win
Full atonement for our sin.
Holy and righteous God!
Holy and mighty God!
Holy and all-merciful Savior!
Eternal Lord God!
Save us lest we perish
In the bitter pangs of death.
Have mercy, O Lord!

This prayer has its own page on Wikipedia.

prayer for the dead in middle ages

prayers for the dead

To You, Trinity We Give Praise and Thanks

We worship you, eternal Father.
We call on you, eternal Son.
We confess you, Holy Spirit, dwelling in one divine unity.

To you, Trinity we give praise and thanks.
To you, one God, we sing in endless praise.

To you, Father unbegotten,
to you, the only-begotten Son,
to you, Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, we confess with our hearts,
to you beyond all thought, surpassing all understanding, to the all-powerful God we give thanks; who reigns, now and forever. Amen.

Source: The Antiphony of Bangor, #125; translated by Paul C. Stratman for A Collection of Prayers.

Original in Latin:

Te Patrem adoramus seternum.
Te sempiternum Filium invocamus.
Teque Spiritum Sanctum in una divinitatis substantia manentem confitemur.
Tibi Trinitati laudes et gratias referimus.
Tibi uni Deo incessabilem dicimus laudem.
Te Patrem ingenitum,
Te Filium unigenitum.
Te Spiritum Sanctum a Patre et Filio procedentem corde credimus.
Tibi inaestimabili, incomprehensibili, omni potens Deus, gratias agimus. Qui regnas in saecula, &c.

The Antiphonary of Bangor and The Divine Offices of Bangor is now available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle. This is a new translation of the entire Antiphonary into comtemporary liturgical English

 

 

 

 

 

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You Stretched Out Your Hands on the Cross

800px-mathis_gothart_grc3bcnewald_007Lord Jesus Christ,
you stretched out your hands on the cross
and you redeemed us by your blood.
Forgive me, a sinner,
for none of my thoughts are hidden from you.
Pardon I ask,
pardon I hope for,
pardon I trust to have.
Your heart is full of pity and mercy.
Spare and forgive me.

Source: Ambrosian, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright, p. 44#2

Original in traditional English:

Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst stretch out Thine hands on the Cross, and redeem us by Thy blood, forgive me, a sinner, for none of my thoughts are hid from Thee. Pardon I ask, pardon I hope for, pardon I trust to have. Thou Who art pitiful and merciful, spare and forgive me.

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May We Persevere with Steadfast Faith in the Confession of Your Name

Almighty and eternal God,
by Christ you revealed your glory to all nations.
Preserve the works of your mercy,
that your Church,
which is spread throughout the world,
may persevere with steadfast faith
in the confession of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Gelasian collect for Good Friday, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright, p. 98.1.

 

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Fill Us with the Invincible Power of Your Love

O God,
you make all things work together
for good to those who love you.
Fill us with the invincible power of your love
that the holy desires you have put in our hearts
may not be changed by any temptation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Gelasian, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright, p. 77.3

 

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Help Us Patiently Wait for Your Light

Merciful Lord,
Comforter and Teacher of your faithful people,
increase in your Church the desires you have given.
Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in you,
and show them the depth of your promises.
Lead all your adopted children to see with the eyes of faith,
and help them wait patiently  for the light that is now hidden;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Ambrosian, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright, p. 76.4.

 

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Move Our Hearts to Seek You

O God,
you have forbidden us
to be anxious about what we need for this life.
Move our hearts
to seek you and your kingdom,
that all good things may be given to us as well;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source:  Gelasian, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright, p. 89#2.

 

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Always Lead Me to Seek Your Face

O Lord,
give me
purity of lips,
a clean and innocent heart,
and rightness of action.

Give me
humility, patience, abstinence,
chastity, prudence, justice,
courage and self-control.

Give me
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and strength,
the Spirit of knowledge and godliness,
and of your fear.

Always lead me to seek your face
with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind.
Let me have a contrite and humble heart in your presence—
to prefer nothing to your love.

Most high, eternal, and ineffable Wisdom,
drive away from me the darkness of blindness and ignorance.
Most high and eternal Strength, rescue me.
Most high and eternal Courage, help me.
Most high and incomprehensible Light, illuminate me,
Most high and infinite Mercy, have mercy on me. [315.]

Source:  Gallican, from the time of Charlemagne, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright p. 96#1.

Also attributed to Alcuin of York.

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The Light of Your Heavenly Grace Has Renewed Us

O Lord,
hear the morning prayers of your people,
and enlighten our hearts with your healing goodness,
that no dark desires may trouble us
since the light of your heavenly grace has renewed us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Gelasian, freely modified from Ancient Collects, ed. WIlliam Bright, p. 7#1

 

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The Splendor of Eternal Light

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May the Lord + Jesus Christ,
who is the splendor of eternal Light,
remove from your hearts
the darkness of night. Amen.

May he drive far from you
the snares of the crafty enemy,
and always give you
his angel of light
to guard you. Amen.

That you may rise to your morning praises,
kept safe in him,
in whom is all
the fullness of your salvation.
Amen.

Source: Attributed to Mozarabic Psalter, possibly 8th century.

 

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