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From the 15th century, a prayer against a deadly plague

Black Death

Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/20/21

This prayer was written by a Servite friar and physician against the plague, but could also be used against COVID-19.

During the 15th century there was an airborne plague that was highly infectious and caused many to die throughout Europe. It was a difficult era, and many priests wrote prayers against the plague, in hopes that God would take away the deadly disease.

One such priest was Jacopo Soldi, a Servite friar and physician. According to Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, Dean of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, he “wrote a work on the plague, which was then ravaging Florence. He ended it with a prayer now relevant in a time of COVID-19.”

Here is Msgr. Jenkins’ English translation of the prayer (used with permission), which can be prayed again, now against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prayer of Jacopo Soldi against the Plague (1478)

To you I pray, Almighty God,
who are the cure of cures
and healer of healers,
salvation and life to all who hope in You,
from whom all things are,
for whom all things are,
and in whom all things are,
whose will none can resist,
who spoke and all things were made,
who commanded and all things were created,
who struck your people Israel with a plague
on account of their sins,
and who mercifully shows kindness
to those who turn back from evil ways,
take this plague from your servants,
and let no living soul be lost from it.

Remember, I pray, Sublime Creator,
your covenant that you promised to our fathers
and command your angel who is set to strike
to now hold back his hand.

And do not abandon your flock, Eternal Shepherd,
but shelter it by your constant protection.
Restrain your anger, I pray, you who said that he who does penance
will live and not die.
Even though we have sinned,
we have still not denied You.

Therefore,
we flee to Your protection, O Mighty God,
do not despise our petitions,
but free us instead from this deadly pestilence.

Have mercy on us, Supreme Father,
and according to your great mercy
blot out the sins and offenses of your children.
Here the prayers of your servants and come to their aid,
we who do not cease daily to cry out,
Holy, Almighty God, have mercy on us.

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