Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Feast of All Saints - 2012: The Patriarchs and Prophets

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the third day in the Octave of All Saints.
Having invited the orders of the heavenly army and accompanied them with due honors, let us hasten to recite the merits of those who, being of like origin with us, of the earth and upon it, through the grace of God and their own merit, much greater than our own, obtain blessedness in Heaven. Among those chosen by the divine goodness before the Law and under the Law stands the praiseworthy company of the holy Fathers, Patriarchs and Prophets. And the greatest among them all, John the Baptist, holds the first place, who was conceived at the message of the same angel as Christ. At the beginning of his preaching and baptism for the forgiveness of sins, he recognized Him that takes away the crimes of the world on sight, and with his own finger pointed him out. Rightly is he called the precursor of the Lord, the herald of the Judge, and prophet of the most High, since when not yet born, he preceded Christ into this world with wondrous exultation, and in his glorious passion went before Him as He descended into the next. 
The Annunciation to Zachariah, by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1490, from the choir of the principal Dominican church of Florence, Santa Maria Novella. The feast of St. John the Baptist's parents, Saints Zachary and Elizabeth, is traditionally kept on November 5th, especially in churches dedicated to their son, such as the Pope's own cathedral.