Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Feast of All Saints 2013: The Patriarchs and Prophets

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the fourth day in the Octave of All Saints:
The holy solemnity of this day is also of course dedicated to the saints most dear to God, the fathers of the Old Testament, whose prayers and deeds rightly should be both remembered and imitated. Greatly desiring the coming of the Savior, being chosen and raised up (by God) in the promise made to the royal house, and in the priestly succession, they beat down their enemies, and raised up a temple to the Lord as a type of the Church, to show that Our Lord Jesus Christ would break down the tyrannical law of the devil, for the salvation of the faithful, and being Himself both king and priest, would order a royal priesthood in His Church. Upon these men, glorious in their virtues and the merits of their lives, followeth the chosen order of the holy Prophets, to whom was entrusted, because of the purity of their lives, the blessed series of revelations, telling of the salvation that was to come, and the same portion of inheritance promised. At the last, the Forerunner of Christ, John, succeeded them, a man wholly angelic, of whom the Lord Himself foretold through the mouth of Malachi, “Behold I send my angel before Thy countenance, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee.”
Icon of St. John the Baptist, anonymous Cretan painter, ca. 1600, from the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece. Many icons of St John show him with wings like an angel, in reference to the words cited above from Malachi 3, 1.

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