Monday, November 07, 2011

The Feast of All Saints 2011: the Martyrs

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the second day in the Octave of All Saints.
It is well-known that at first this day’s glorious solemnity honored the triumphal name of the holy martyrs, for the church whose dedication we recall was first called Saint Mary of the Martyrs, and the feasts of holy martyrs alone were celebrated therein. There are many Saints before those times who passed from this present life without shedding their blood; nevertheless they are honored with the title of martyrdom, because they suffered in some way, namely, by exile, by the loss of their goods, by long imprisonment, or harsh beatings, though at last they died in peace. Therefore, no outward savagery of the wicked was strong enough to disturb the spiritual tranquillity of these and all the other holy martyrs, even though their members were tormented with every sort of torture, and to every degree. In these the Lord has given use both a defense and an example, so that we may be helped by the protection of their prayers, and be encouraged by the persevereance of their constant faith to overcome all temptations.
The Virgin Mary in Glory, with the Archangel Gabriel and Saints Sebastian, Eusebius of Vercelli and Roch, by the Venetian painter Sebastiano Ricci, 1724, now kept at the University of Turin. Saint Eusebius (285 ca. - 371) was one of the earliest western Saints to be venerated as martyr because of the lengthy exile he suffered, although he did not die by shedding his blood.

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