Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Feast of All Saints - 2011

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the beginning of the sermon for the second day in the Octave of All Saints:
Worthily we recall this day that the place once called the Pantheon, a place full of filth, was consecrated to God and to all the Saints, so that where sin abounded, there grace might also abound. (Romans 5, 20) So one that was mighty, and cruelly held possession of nearly all things in miserable peace, was overwhelmed and conquered by One mightier still; who, rifling his goods, (Matthew 12, 29) dedicated to His own worship the other’s temples. By this fact, perceptible to our senses, we are taught spiritually that Man, who in Adam had become by original sin the dwelling place and possession of the devil, the servant of sin, the son of death, by baptism becomes the temple of God, and is brought over to the liberty of the sons of God, and through grace reborn as a son of adoption. Worthily therefore do we celebrate the dedication of the temple, by which we recall to mind these benefits conferred upon us, and are advised to consecrate our hearts as a temple to the Lord, casting out all the idols of the demons, that is, our sins.


The interior of the Pantheon, by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1692-1765) Over the architrave are quotations from Psalm 149, "His praise is in the church of the Saints", and Psalm 150, "Praise the Lord in His Saints", words that were formerly sung every single day in the psalmody of Lauds. This inscription has been removed by modern restorations.


In the Middle Ages, the sermon read at Matins on the feast of All Saints was the same in almost every Use of the Roman Rite, called from its first words "Legimus in ecclesiasticis historiis"; the real author is unknown, although it was frequently attributed to St. Rabanus Maurus. The first lesson refers to the institution of the feast of All Saints, and the dedication of the Pantheon as a church. The second lesson is about God, while the six lessons that follow descend through the hierarchy of the Saints: the Virgin Mary, the Angels, the Patriarchs and Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, and the various types of Confessors. The holy Virgins and other female Saints are mentioned in the same lesson as the Virgin Mary, the model of consecrated life; the ninth lesson is taken from a homily of St. Augustine on the Sermon on the Mount, the beginning of which is the Gospel of the feast. When All Saints was granted an octave by Pope Sixtus IV in the early 1480s, each day of the octave was assigned a different sermon with the same structure, covering the first eight of the nine lessons at Matins. Last year, we commemorated All Saints with the sermon for the feast day itself; this year, we will follow the Matins lessons from the very beautiful sermon assigned to be read on November 2nd.

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