This prayer for a departing soul traditionally follows the litany for the dying. It is meant to be said, ideally by a priest, when the soul is at death’s door. We’ve found this moving prayer in various forms, in both old prayer books and on the internet. It has some wonderful imagery of the Heavenly Court of angels, saints, and martyrs, reminding one of the Te Deum prayer in that regard!
This prayer is clearly meant to keep all the forces of Hell at bay from this soul, with God’s mighty intervention, as if to say to Satan and all the evil spirits seeking the ruin of souls, (as we call them in the Saint Michael Prayer) “you’re not getting this one!” It also includes an impressive listing of God’s saving many famous Biblical figures from danger and destruction, from Noah’s time all the way up to Sts. Peter and Paul!
Depart, O Christian soul, out of this sinful world, in the name of God, the Father Almighty, who created thee; in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered and died for thee; in the name of the Holy Ghost, who sanctified thee; in the name of the glorious and blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God; in the name of blessed Joseph, the renowned spouse of the same Virgin, in the name of the Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Dominations, Cherubim and Seraphim (or her); in the name of the Patriarchs and Prophets, of the holy Apostles and Evangelists, of the Holy Martyrs and Confessors, of the Holy Monks and Hermits, of the Holy Virgins and of all the Saints of God; let peace come to thee this day, and let thy abode be in holy Sion; Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Merciful God, O loving God, the same God, who, according to the multitude of Thy mercies, forgivest the sins of such as repent, and graciously remittest the guilt of their past offences, look with favor on thy servant N. and grant him (or her) full forgiveness of all his sins, who, with his (or her) whole heart, begs it of Thee. Renew O most loving Father, whatsoever hath been corrupted by human frailty, by the deceits of the devil; make him (or her) a true member of the Church, and let him (or her) share in the fruits of Thy redemption. Have compassion, O Lord, on his (or her) sighs and tears, and admit him (or her) whose only hope is but in Thee, to the sacrament of Thy reconciliation; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I commend thee, dear brother to the Almighty God, and consign thee to His mercy, whose creature thou art; that when thou shalt have paid the debt of all mankind by death, thou mayest return to thy Maker, who formed thee from the dust of the earth. When, therefore, thy soul shall depart from thy body, may the resplendent multitude of angels meet thee; may the court of the apostles receive thee; may the triumphant army of glorious martyrs welcome thee; may the splendid company of confessors clad in their white robes encompass thee; may the choir of joyful virgins receive thee; and mayest thou meet with a blessed repose in the bosom of the patriarchs.
May Jesus Christ appear to thee with a mild and cheerful countenance, and give thee a place among those who are to stand before Him (or her) forever. Mayest thou be a stranger to all that are punished in darkness, chastised with flames and condemned to torments.
May the most wicked enemy with all his evil spirits, be forced to give way; may he tremble at thy approach, encircled by Angels, and with confusion, fly away into the vast chaos of eternal night.
Let God arise and His enemies be dispersed, and let them that hate Him (or her), fly before His face; let them vanish like smoke; and as wax that melts before the fire, so let sinners perish in the sight of God; but may the just rejoice and be happy in His presence. May then, all the legions of hell be filled with confusion and shame; and may none of the monsters of Satan dare to stop thee in thy way.
May Christ deliver thee from torments, who was crucified for thee; may He deliver thee from eternal death, who vouchsafed to die for thee. May Christ Jesus, the Son of the living God, place thee in His garden of Paradise; and may He, the true Shepherd, acknowledge thee for one of His flock. May He absolve thee from all thy sins, and place thee at His right hand, in the midst of His elect. Mayest thou see thy Redeemer face to face and, standing always in His presence, behold the beatific vision of that Eternal Truth, and mayest thou be placed among the companies of the blessed and enjoy the sweetness of the contemplation of thy God forever. Amen.
Receive, O Lord, thy servant into the place of salvation which he hopes to obtain through Thy mercy. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant from all danger of hell and from all pain and tribulation. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant, as Thou didst deliver Enoch and Elias from the common death of the world. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant, as Thou didst deliver Noe from the flood. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver Abraham from the Chaldeans. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant, as Thou didst deliver Job from his afflictions. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant, as Thou didst deliver Isaac from the sacrifice and from the hand of his father. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver Lot from Sodom and the flames of fire. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver Moses from the hands of Pharaoh, the King of the Egyptians. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver Daniel from the lions' den. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver the three children from the fiery furnace and from the power of the wicked king. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver Susanna from her false accusers. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver David from the hands of King Saul and Goliath. Amen.
Deliver, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant as Thou didst deliver Peter and Paul from prison. Amen.
And as Thou didst deliver that most blessed virgin and martyr, Thecla, from three most cruel torments, so deign to deliver the soul of this Thy servant and make it enjoy heavenly bliss and Thee. Amen.
Let Us Pray
We commend to Thee, O Lord, the soul of Thy servant, N. and we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, that as in Thy love for him (or her) (or her). Thou becamest man, so now Thou wouldst not refuse to admit him (or her) into the number of the patriarchs. Remember, O Lord, that he is Thy creature, not made by strange gods but by Thee, the only true and living God; for there is no other but Thee, and none that can equal Thy works. Let his soul find comfort in Thy sight, and remember not his former sins, nor any of those excesses into which he has fallen, through the violence of passion and corruption of nature. For although he (or she) has sinned, yet he (or she) still retains a true faith in Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; he (or she) has had a zeal for Thy honor, and faithfully adored Thee, his (or her) God, and the Creator of all things.
Remember not, O Lord, the sins of ignorance in his(or her) youth; but according to Thy tender mercy, be mindful of him (or her) in Thy eternal glory. Let the heavens be opened to him (or her), and the Angels rejoice with him (or her). May St. Michael, the Archangel, the chief of the heavenly host, conduct him (or her); may blessed Peter the Apostle, to whom God gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, receive him (or her); may St. Paul the Apostle and chosen vessel of election, assist him (or her); may St. John the beloved Disciple, to whom were revealed the secrets, intercede for him (or her); may all the holy Apostles, to whom was given the power of binding and loosing, pray for him (or her); may all the chosen Saints and Elect of God, who in this world suffered torments for the name of Christ, intercede for him (or her); so that, being delivered from the corruptible body, he may be admitted into the kingdom of heaven; through the grace and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.
Clearly this Prayer for a Departing Soul makes a magnificent appeal for one’s salvation, and Eternal Life with God. Its powerful requests for help from the forces of Heaven including the saints and various apostles make it all the more compelling. We hope this prayer may help all those on the threshold of Eternity!