Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Feast of All Saints: The Confessors

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.
We believe that this day’s festivity is also made renowned by the priests, doctors, and confessors of Christ, who spiritually nourish the hearts of the faithful, like heavenly waters, so that they may be able to bring forth in abundance the incorruptible fruit of good works. They have taken care not only to give back the talents entrusted to them, but also to increase them with interest, … ; for the good which they learned and understood through the grace of the Holy Spirit, they strove to impart not only to themselves, but to the minds of those subject to them. … Celebrating the sacred and holy mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ upon the altar, in the depths of their heart they cease not to offer a living sacrifice, and pleasing to God, that is, themselves, without blemish or admixture of any evil deed. And although they did not feel the sword of the persecutors, yet through the merit of their lives, they are worthy of God and not deprived of martyrdom. For martyrdom is accomplished not only by the shedding of blood, but also by abstaining from sins, and the practice of God’s commandments. … Very many have shone forth with signs and wonders, restoring sight to the blind, strengthening the steps of the lame, giving hearing to the deaf, conquering demons, and raising the dead.

The "Wise Order of the Doctors" from the vaulting of the Chapel of Saint Brice in Orvieto Cathedral, by Luca Signorelli, 1499.

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