Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Feast of All Saints: the Virgin Mary, Model of the Saints

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 must certainly believe that the blessed Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, the temple of God, the shrine of the Holy Spirit, Virgin before, during and after the birth (of Her son), has a part in the present solemnity, along with the (other) virgins. By her actions she admonished the people of God to disdain the luxuries of the world that passeth away, to turn aside from the allurements of our mortal nature, to preserve within the heart the purity of the body with the honor of virginity; and by her examples she affirms that she is the queen of all virtues, the delight of perpetual salvation, and the companion of the Angels. And thus an innumerable multitude of both sexes has followed in Her footsteps, and abandoning the union of matrimony and the begetting of children, have chosen to be joined to the eternal Spouse in Heaven in mind and action, habit and deed, devoting themselves to prayers, keeping fasts, loving the sacred vigils, offering alms, refreshing the poor, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, rejoicing in tribulation, suffering from words of calumny and insult, humble in the increase of their (religious) profession, giving thanks to God in the loss of temporal things. For the desire of the kingdom of Heaven, and because of the hope of eternal reward, with most fervent love they pursue these and like things, unfailingly and willingly. And thus, persevering in the love of God and of their neighbors, they rejoice to end their life for God alone.
The Fraternity of Saint Peter’s church in the Eternal City has customarily decorated the various altars with reliquaries on the Feast of All Saints, with a new arrangement each year. Here are some other photographs of this year’s decorations. This is the Lady Altar; the picture which normally sits over it is currently undergoing a long-needed restoration.

The altar of St Matthew, which faces the Lady Altar on the other side of the transept.

The main altar, with the famous painting of the Holy Trinity by Guido Reni.

The relics on of the main altar in great detail.

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