A Short Form of Compline

Praying Compline

It is a very good thing indeed to pray before turning in to bed at night. There is an inspired Catholic prayer service called “Compline” (“completion” of the day’s duties). Some of it is the same each and every night. Some of it changes from day to day. It ends with one of four hymns to Our Lady, which rotate through four sections of the year. I shall set it out as if it were being said in a church. The responses are in italics.

If you are praying it alone, say all parts. I have made some very minor amendments. It is very easy to find this chanted on the internet, and the Latin words. The chant adds an extra dimension, and helps lift the soul.


May the all-powerful Lord grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end.   Amen.

Brethren: Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, remaining strong in faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Thanks be to God.

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Who made heaven and earth.

I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed; through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

(Priest) May almighty God be merciful unto us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.   Amen

(Priest) May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.   Amen.

Make us turn to You, O God our saviour.

And avert your wrath from us.

O God, come to my assistance.

Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Alleluia.

Psalms. Here different psalms are specified for each day of the week. I give one of the Psalms of Friday (76=77) 

I cried to the Lord with my voice; to God with my voice, and he gave ear to me.

In the day of my trouble I sought God, with my hands lifted up to him in the night, and I was not deceived.

My soul refused to be comforted: I remembered God, and was delighted, and was exercised, and my spirit swooned away.

My eyes prevented the watches: I was troubled, and I spoke not.

I thought upon the days of old: and I had in my mind the eternal years.

And I meditated in the night with my own heart: and I was exercised and I swept my spirit.

Will God then cast off for ever? or will he never be more favourable again?

Or will he cut off his mercy for ever, from generation to generation?

Or will God forget to shew mercy? or will he in his anger shut up his mercies?

And I said, Now have I begun: this is the change of the right hand of the most High.

I remembered the works of the Lord: for I will be mindful of thy wonders from the beginning.

And I will meditate on all thy works: and will be employed in thy inventions.

Glory be to the Father …

Hymn. Te lucis ante terminum

Before the end of light, we ask of You, Creator of the World, that You will be present and be our guardian, for You are merciful.

May nightmares be absent, and phantasms of the night. Check our Enemy, lest our bodies be polluted.

Be present most pious Father, and Your only Son Jesus Christ, equal (to You), with the Spirit, the Paraclete, reigning through all ages. Amen.

Little Chapter

But Thou, Lord, art in our midst, and Thy holy name is invoked upon us. Do not forsake us, Lord our God.

Thanks be to God.

Short Responsory

Into Thy hands, Lord, I commend my spirit. (repeated)

You have redeemed us, Lord, God of Truth.

I commend my spirit. Glory be …

Into Thy hands …

Keep us, Lord, as the apple of Thine eye.

Shelter us under the shadow of Thy wings.

Antiphon Protect us, Lord, while we are awake and guard us while we sleep, that we may keep watch with Christ, and rest with Him in peace.

Nunc dimittis (Luke 2:29-32) At last Lord, You give leave to your servant to go in peace according to Your promise,

For my eyes have seen Your salvation

Which You have prepared before the face of all people,

A light to the revelation of the gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.

Glory be to the Father …


Antiphon Protect us, Lord, while we are awake and guard us while we sleep, that we may keep watch with Christ, and rest with Him in peace.


The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

Lord hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto You.


Let us pray. Visit, we beseech Thee, Lord, this habitation, and drive far from it all snares of the Enemy. May Your holy angels dwell herein, to keep us in peace, and may Your blessing always be upon us. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.


The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

Lord hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto You.

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


May the all-powerful and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless and keep us.  Amen.


Final Antiphon

We sing “Alma redemptoris mater,” from Advent to the Purification; “Ave, regina caelorum” from then until Wednesday in Holy Week; “Regina caeli” from Easter Sunday to Friday after Pentecost; and for the balance of the year, “Salve regina.”


(Alma) Loving mother of the Redeemer, open door to heaven and star of the sea, come quickly to the aid of your people, fallen indeed but striving to stand again. To nature’s astonishment you were mother of your holy Creator without ceasing to be a virgin, and heard from Gabriel that greeting: “Hail!” Have mercy on us sinners.


May the divine assistance remain always with us. Amen.

One comment

  1. Thank you for your website! Regarding compline it is a beautiful prayer indeed and a great thing to do! But, why not prayer the Maronite Compline Sootoro?

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