How would these two sentences translate to Latin?

  • Welcome to the site, and nice question!
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


A direct but perhaps too literal translation would be:

Jesu me adjuves, quia sine gratia tua nihil sum. Jesu misericors, tibi solum confido.

Some comments about the choices I made:

  • adjuves is a jussive subjunctive
  • gratia is used in Ave Maria for grace
  • nihil sum is used by Cicero (IIRC)
  • I translated I place all my trust in you by I only trust you, I don't know if there is a better way to say it.
  • I started both sentences with Jesus to reinforce parallelism and impact
  • 2
    For I am nothing part, related questions: latin.stackexchange.com/questions/5314/… and latin.stackexchange.com/questions/14023/… ;;; Other than that, one can consider using the dative soli instead of the adverbial solum. I believe there is a subtle difference between them.
    – d_e
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 20:44
  • @d_e Thank you for the reference. I could be wrong but I have the impression that using the dative can have a connotation of "to you who are alone" which is not desirable here
    – user11203
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 20:51
  • I see what you are saying, but the same can be said about solum. to mean "I don't do other things, I only trust you ".
    – d_e
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 21:11
  • 1
    Shouldn't misericordis be in vocative rather than dative here? It's an address, not grammatically linked with the dative that follows.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 21:36
  • 1
    @d_e That's a good point, so I don't know if one version is better than the other
    – user11203
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 21:45

All these ideas are common in ecclesiastical Latin. So you don't have to reinvent the wheel to have a precise, idiomatic translation.

Help me Jesus, for without your grace I am nothing. Merciful Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

  • Help me is adiuva me (see, e.gr. Mt 15:25; adiuva + pronoun in acc. is the preferred construction to ask for help in the Vulgate (happens several times in the Gospels alone, directed to Jesus).

  • Jesus as addressing Him is Iesu (vocative case)

  • for (in the sense of because) is most frequently quia and also quoniam

  • without your grace: as Laravel points, grace is gratiawithout your grace sine tua gratia.

  • I'm nothing: nihil sum (1 Cor 13:2)

    • There are two relevant close matches to the whole idea of without your grace I am nothing:
      1. sine me nihil potestis facere (Jo 15:5), [I am the vine...] whithout me you can do nothing.
      2. sine tuo numine nihil est in homine, without your help/grace, there's nothing in man (from the sequence for Pentecost) //I personally prefer numine for grace in this context because of this specific verse. Literally it means nod, and hence by extension, command and will.
  • Merciful Jesus would be pie Iesu. (See also this Q/A)

  • I place all my trust in you: the shorter I trust in you is very common and can be found as in Te confido in invocations to the Sacred Heart and the Divine Mercy. Another frequent wording choice is with the verb spero (to hope): sperabo in eum (I will hope in Him, Ps. 91:2), in te, Domine, speravi (a handful of times in the Psalms), etc. Apparently to treat Hope as a noun in this situations is less common. (And hence, to place all of it in God,) but I might be proven wrong. You can use the adverb valde for strongly, or use the more emphatic alternative to spero found in the Vulgate, which is superspero (Ps 199: in verba tua supersperavi/I have put my hope in your words.) My choice in this case would be in Te supersperavi.

Piecing all together makes:

Adiuva me Iesu, quoniam sine tuo numine nihil sum. Pie Iesu, in Te supersperavi.

Remember that most of the alternatives offered are interchangeable, so you could also say

Adiuva me Iesu, quia sine tua gratia nihil sum. Pie Iesu, in Te valde confido.

  • 1
    We came up with a close translation but your description is much more detailed than mine, I upvoted your answer.
    – user11203
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 6:39
  • 1
    FWIW, I found an example (no idea what is the context) for spes noun which very close to what the OP is after: "tibi soli confido, spem meam omnem in te colloco
    – d_e
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 6:41
  • Thank you both! // @d_e what an interesting book you've found! I reworded a little to better express that
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 13:19

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