Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dies Irae

Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla:
teste David cum Sibylla.

The day of wrath, that day
which will dissolve the world to ashes,
as testified by David and the Sybil.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!

What terror there will be,
when the judge will come
all drawn together tightly to be shattered!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulcra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.

The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound
among the graves of all the lands,
will assemble all before the Throne.

Mors stupebit et natura,
cum resurget creatura,
judicanti responsura.

Death and Nature will be astounded
when they see a creature rise again
to answer to the Judge.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

The book will be brought forth
in which all deeds are noted,
for which the world will be judged.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
quidquid latet apparebit:
nil inultum remanebit.

When the judge will be seated,
all that is hidden will appear,
and nothing will remain unpunished.

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

What am I, wretched, to say?
To what advocate shall I appeal,
when the just man is barely secure?

Rex tremendae majestatis,
qui salvandos salvas gratis,
salva me fons pietatis.

O king of tremendous majesty,
who freely saves the elect,
save me, O font of piety.

Recordare, Jesu pie,
quod sum causa tuae viae:
ne me perdas illa die.

Remember, merciful Jesus,
that I am the cause of your journey,
do not lose me on that day.

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:
redemisti Crucem passus:
tantus labor non sit cassus.

You wearied yourself in finding me;
you have redeemed me through the cross;
let not such great efforts be in vain.

Juste judex ultionis,
donum fac remissionis
ante diem rationis.

O judge of vengeance, justly
make a gift of your forgiveness
before the day of reckoning.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce, Deus.

I lament like a guilty one;
my faults cause me to blush;
I beg you, spare me.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
et latronem exaudisti,
mihi quoque spem dedisti.

You who have absolved Mary,
and have heard the thief's prayer,
have also given hope to me.

Preces meae non sunt dignae:
sed tu bonus fac benigne,
ne perenni cremer igne.

My prayers are not worthy,
but you, O Good One, grant kindly
that I do not burn in the eternal fire.

Inter oves locum praesta,
et ab haedis me sequestra,
statuens in parte dextra.

Give me a place among the sheep,
separate me from the goats,
placing me at your right side.

Confutatis maledictis,
flammis acribus addictis:
voca me cum benedictis.

Having destroyed the accursed,
condemned them to the fierce flames,
call me with the blessed.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
cor contritum quasi cinis:
gere curam mei finis.

I prostrate myself, supplicating,
my heart repentant, like ashes;
take care of my end.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla

judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:

That tearful day,
when from the ashes shall rise again
sinful man to be judged.
Therefore pardon him, O God:

pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem. Amen.

Merciful Lord Jesus,
give them rest. Amen.

* * *

I have of late been troubled a great deal with thoughts of the things in this poem: sin, God's justice, damnation. The hymn is a cry of man fearing his end, yet trusting in God to order it justly. In the end, that is all we can ask: that God is just with us.

Yet He is more than just with us: He is merciful. He absolved Mary Magdalene, He forgave the penitent thief, and He will not forget us in the last day.

On the last day, we will find that we are not worthy of salvation. We have done what we could, but it can never be enough. Even the best action of our lives is still miniscule compared to salvation. Christ lends us the merit that our action do not in themselves deserve, and by His own free gift allows us to be saved.

An atheist mocked my friend and me last week, saying, "I'm going to go to Hell if I die. That shows how merciful your God is."

Oh, if only she knew how merciful our God is! If she would allow Him to save her, He could have mercy on her. Still, God will not save us against our will. In the end, it is still up to us: will we accept the grace Christ has won for us? or will we reject Him, living the life we choose, until it leads us to perdition?

On this All Souls' Day, let us pray for the souls of all who have died. May they stand at God's right hand, among the sheep.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.


Andreth said...

Notice to the readers of Sheila's blog: she failed to give herself credit for translating the "Dies Irae" in this post herself. Isn't it great? I have such a smart roommmate, don't I? :)

Santiago said...

Quite impressive! She can translate from English to Latin! Wow!
(just kidding)

Here's a great performance of this great piece to go with this great translation:

Added bonus: an essay by Fr Luigi Giussani in the little booklet. Deutsche Grammophon
Herbert Von Karajan
Wiener Philharmoniker

Sheila said...

Actually, I feel I must revise that. I was pressed for time, so it's partly my translation, and partly from

I checked through the translation and clarified it or made it closer to the Latin. I would estimate the translation is about 1/4 mine.

I did mean to translate the whole thing, but it was terribly time-consuming. Sorry to disappoint you, Andreth.

Iosephus said...

Do you know, by any chance, where one can find a nice recording of a Requiem Mass, including the Dies Irae, of course--and I don't mean a Mozart or Verdi Requiem, but the straight Gregorian setting of the Requiem Mass?

White Phantom said...

Still impressive. Gotta love the Dies Irae. We sang the Mozart version for school once, it's always good for being loud. :) Remember when Meredith used sing it to a polka beat? :D

Sheila said...

No, I don't know of a good recording. I wish I did. I've only heard the piece sung 3 times -- twice for All Souls and once for the Holy Father's memorial Mass here.

Now Meredith and Stephanie have a techno version of Mozart's piece. It's freaky.

Santiago said...

"I'm going to go to Hell if I die. That shows how merciful your God is."

Dude, any creative male would see that there was a HUGE opening for a major pick up line of some sort in that statement! Something like, "Oh, but madame, God does not send his most beautiful angels to hell." And then you'd go on: "But, madame, you yourself are a proof of His existence: can your beauty be merely the product of a selfless Big Bang, followed by a blind evolution?"

Sheila said...

Feel free to try it, but I'll warn you: atheists are tough cookies.

Besides, that line wouldn't even impress me, and I believe in angels!

Santiago said...

Besides, that line wouldn't even impress me, and I believe in angels!

Well then you must have a heart of STONE. Poor Mr. Charlemagne has his work cut out for him ;)

Andreth said...

Charlemagne??? *giggles*

Sheila said...

"Poor" Mr Charlemagne has no hope, where I'm concerned. And that's lucky for him, because I'd torment him forever.

Especially because he uses pickup lines just like that.

Santiago said...

Especially because he uses pickup lines just like that.

Really?? Who the heck is this guy?