Monday, November 02, 2015

The Feast of All Saints 2015 - God, the Author of Our Sanctification

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the sixth day in the Octave of All Saints.

On today’s feast, one of such sublime dignity, let us first set before our mind’s eye the memory of our God, praiseworthy above all. But let us take warning, brethren, for praise is not beautiful in the mouth of a sinner. He truly prays to God who humbly sees that he is dust, and attributes no virtue to himself, and knows that the good things which he does are from the mercy of God. And so, perseverance in uninterrupted love devotes itself to His praise with attentive mind, a simple heart, and a disciplined body, not only with a loud voice, but also with the groan of remorse for sin. To obtain these, we are helped by purity, so that in every place and time we may restrain ourselves from illicit deeds, and curb both the ear and the tongue from useless words. For whatever things one happens to do, speak or hear more often, must perforce recur to the mind, which becomes as it were their customary and proper place. And just as swine are wont to frequent filthy wallows, and doves the clear streams of water; so also vain and harmful thoughts disturb an impure mind, while spiritual thoughts betoken men of the spirit. Therefore, in the words of the prophet, let our soul bless the Lord in every place of His dominion, and all that is within us His holy name, which is blessed unto all ages. Amen.

The right wing of the St John Altarpiece, by Hans Memling, ca. 1479, showing the Apostle John and his vision of the Trinity.
The “words of the prophet” cited above are the beginning of Psalm 102, which on most days is sung as the first antiphon of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. Here is a setting of the Old Church Slavonic version.

Bless the Lord, O my soul: blessed are Thou, o Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all he hath done for thee.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful: long-suffering and plenteous in mercy.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless his holy name: blessed are Thou, o Lord.

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