For an explanation of what this day is:
Dies Irae: The sequence in the liturgy about the second coming of Christ.
From the 13th century.
Dreaded day, that day of ire, When the world shall melt in fire, Told by Sibyl and David's lyre.
Fright mens hearts shall rudely shift, As the Judge through gleaming rift, Comes each soul to closely sift.
Then, the trumpet's shrill refrain, Piercing tombs by hill and plain, Souls to judgement shall arraign.
Death and nature stand aghast, As the bodies rising fast, Hie to hear the sentence passed.
Then, before Him shall be placed, That whereon the verdict's based, Book wherein each deed is traced.
When the Judge His seat shall gain, All that's hidden shall be plain, Nothing shall unjudged remain.
Wretched man, what can I plead? Whom to ask to intercede, When the just much mercy need?
Thou, O awe-inspiring Lord, Saving e'en when unimplored, Save me, mercy's fount adored.
Ah! Sweet Jesus, mindful be, That Thou cam'st on earth for me: Cast me not this day from Thee.
Seeking me Thy strength was spent, Ransoming Thy limbs were rent: Is this toil to no intent?
Thou, awarding pains condign, Mercy's ear to me incline, Ere the reckoning Thou assign.
I, felon-like, my lot bewail, Suffused cheeks my shame unveil: God! O let my prayer prevail.
Mary's soul Thou madest white, Didst to heaven the thief invite; Hope in me these now excite.
Prayers of mine in vain ascend: Thou art good and wilt forefend, In quenchless fire my life to end.
When the cursed by shame oprest, Enter flames at Thy behest, Call me then to join the blest.
Place amid Thy sheep accord, Keep me from the tainted horde, Set me in Thy sight, O Lord.
Prostrate, suppliant, now no more, Unrepenting, as of yore, Save me dying, I implore.
Mournful day that day of sighs, When from dust shall man arise, Stained with guilt his doom to know.
Mercy, Lord, on him bestow, Jesus, King! Thy souls release, Lead them thence to realms of peace. Amen
COLLECT O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins: that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon which they have always desired. ! Who, livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end, Amen.
EPISTLE (i. Cor. xv. 51-57.) BRETHREN, behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall all indeed rise again, but we shall not all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and , we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? Now the sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
GOSPEL (John v. 25-29.) At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: Amen, amen, I say unto you, that the hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself, so he hath given to the Son also to have life in himself: and he hath given him power to do judgment, because he is the Son of man. Wonder not at this, for the hour cometh wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life: but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.
The Epistle and Gospel of this day speak of the resurrection of all men and of the judgment, when every one according as he has lived, sinful and impenitent, or pure and innocent, will receive an eternally miserable or an eternally happy life. Purgatory will then end and there will be only heaven and hell. It remains with us to choose which of these two we shall possess.
At the Offertory of the Mass the priest prays:
O Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the deep pit: deliver them from the mouth of the lion, that hell may not swallow them up, and they may not fall into darkness: but may the holy standard-bearer, Michael, introduce them to the holy light: which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed. We offer to Thee, O Lord, sacrifices and prayers: do Thou receive them in behalf of those souls whom we commemorate this day. Grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to that life which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed.
We may profitably and devoutly repeat the following as often as we pass a graveyard.
V. From the gates of hell,
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord,
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace,
V. May the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace,
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