Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Feast of All Saints: The Angels

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of a Carolingian homily commonly read on the feast of All Saints in the Middle Ages.

It is God who placed the supernal kingdoms of the Heavens for the angelic spirits, to the praise and glory and honor of His name and of His majesty, in wondrous order forever. We grow afraid to say too much about them, because it belongs to God alone to know how their nature, which is invisible to us, without contamination or decrease stands firm in its purity. Yet from the witness of the Sacred Scriptures we know that there are nine orders of Angels, to fulfill the judgments and service of God; whose principalities and powers are subtly and marvelously distinguished by the will of God omnipotent. Some of them are sent to us in this world, and come to foretell future events. Others are set for this purpose, that through them signs and wonders may frequently be done. … Other armies of the Angels are so joined to God that between Him and them there are no others; the more plainly they behold the glory of His divinity, the more do they burn with love. To all these ranks of Angels, dearest brethren, so beautiful and beloved of God, we believe this solemnity is also consecrated. But behold, as we pry into the secrets of the citizens of Heaven, we have digressed beyond the measure of our frailty. Let us keep silent in the meanwhile concerning the secrets of Heaven; but before the eyes of our Creator, let us wipe away the stain of sins with our tears, that we may be able to come one day to those of whom we speak.

An icon for the Byzantine Rite's feast of all the Angels, called "The Synaxis of All the Holy Bodiless Powers", celebrated on November 8th.

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