Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Octave of All Saints 2015

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

In the mystery of today’s feast we must also venerate the blessed confessors, who being gifted with the dignity of the episcopacy or the priesthood, were most zealous in the worshipping God through the holy sacrifice. With Christ as their master, they steered the ship of the Church as it labored in the winds, waves and storms of heretics and false Christians. By the spiritual rod of their authority, they confounded the heretics, and drive out the dogs that barked and snarled. With the same pastoral staff, as with a hook, they drew to the Faith unbelievers, and those who wandered from the way of truth; they bore up the weak, and by they work and cultivation of the Lord’s field, urged on the tepid.

With these are numbered also all the confessors who held a lesser order, or were not ordained, some of whom obedience to a (religious) rule approveth (for our veneration), while others were not kept back from the way of God by tumult of the world. In spirit they kept aloof like doves, and dwelt in desert places, serving the world only in respect to their body, but in justice and holiness, living as if they were in heaven.

Triptych by Grifo di Tancredi, (Florentine, active 1271-1303) In the large central panel is a scene of the type known as a “Thebaid”, from the name of an Egyptian province that was once home to many of the original anchorites, i.e. “withdrawers”, men and women who withdrew entirely from the ordinary life of the world into desert and wild places to live a life wholly dedicated to God. - Above the central panel, Christ the Pantocrator and Angels. On the left wing: Angels descending from heaven; the Crucifixion; the women at the Tomb. On the right wing: The Flagellation of Christ; the Mocking of Christ by the soldiers; the Harrowing of Hell.
From the Breviary of St Pius V, the homily for the Octave Day of All Saints, from St Augustine’s First Book on the Sermon on the Mount. (The Gospel to which this refers, that of the feast, is Matthew 5, 1-12.)

“Blessed will you be, says (the Lord), when they shall curse you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.” Whoever seeks the delights of this world and the possession of temporal goods under the name of a Christian, let him consider him that our blessedness is inward, even as it said by the mouth of the Prophet concerning the soul of the Church “The King’s daughter is all glorious within.” (Psalm 44, 15) Without, she is reviled, and persecution and evil report are promised her. And yet for these very things, great is her reward in heaven, as indeed is felt in the hearts of those who sufferer, of those who can already “But we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Which is given unto us.” (Romans 5, 3-5)

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