Coming to Completion

Coming to Completion

by: Sr. Christa Kreinbrink
To accomplish or finish. To bring to completion. The meaning of the word that refers to the last canonical hour of the day, Compline (or Night Prayer). The prayer that assists us in bringing the day to a close.

Night Prayer is the mature version of “Now I lay me down to sleep”. Even in the child’s prayer there are overtones of finality: “…if I should die before I wake…” So it is with Compline. The mystery of sleep, its descent into the unconscious realm, is not unlike death, over which we have little control.

Night Prayer hymns and texts encourage us to review the day, to ask forgiveness for the ills we have done, to resolve to begin anew on the morrow, to tie up those loose ends. No matter the season, natural or liturgical. Night Prayer is not tied to a season, but to the end of the day, any day.

Visit this dwelling, O God, and drive far from it the snares of the enemy. Snares of anxiety, snares of fear, snares of night terrors. So common this dis-ease that Night Prayer is packed with our plea for comfort:

  • Keep us beneath the shelter of your wings
  • Guide us waking, guard us sleeping
  • Keep watch for us all through the night

We pray with Alcuin of York (8th c.):

      The labor of the day is over,
      And now we rest safely at home.
      Make this home your home,
      And protect us with your grace.

      The sun has fallen below the earth,
      And now the darkness is here.
      Let your uncreated light shine
      Upon our dark and weary souls.

      From horror, lust and fear,
      Guard us while we sleep.
      And if we cannot sleep,
      Let our eyes behold your heavenly host.

Sr. Christa Kreinbrink