Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Feast of All Saints 2016 - The Virgin Mary and Holy Women

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

Dearest brethren, although this truly blessed vision of our Creator would alone suffice, because it infinitely surpasses every other created joy; there is nevertheless yet another happy vision (to pass over in silence countless others) which gives joy to the mind of all heavenly spirits, namely, to see the sacred glory of the Queen of Heaven, and the glorified humanity of Her Son. For who can even think how great a joy it brings to see Her, the mother of mercy, the finder of grace, the queen of piety and clemency, no longer reclining with a little child crying in the manger, but rather exalted with inestimable joy over every dignity of mere creatures, and now reigning with Christ. There also the most blessed crowd of virgins and holy women, shining in glory for the eminence of their virtue, having followed Christ the Lamb, rejoices as it sings the happy wedding song, “I held him: and I will not let him go forever.” (Cant. 3, 4)

Virgo inter Virgines (The Virgin Mary among the other holy virgins) by the anonymous Netherlandish painter known as the Master of the St Lucy Legend, ca. 1490. (Click to enlarge.) - Furthest on the left, St Apollonia dressed in white, holds a tooth with a pair of pincers; she had all of her teeth knocked out in her martyrdom, and is the patron Saint of dentists. St Ursula, in a black and gold robe, reads a book; an arrow, the instrument of her martyrdom, is under the folds of her skirt St Lucy, in green, holds a golden plate with two eyes on it. St Dorothy, at the rear in brown and blue, holds a crown and bell. St Catherine receives a ring from the baby Jesus; her red cloak is covered with her symbol, the wheel. St Mary Magdalene, kneeling, wears white over read, and presents to Him a golden pot of ointment; the myrrh for the anointing of His body. St Barbara holds baby Jesus’ other hand; her black cloak is covered with her symbol, the tower. St Agnes, in red and sitting on the ground, holds a lamb, and in her other hand a ring. St Margaret, in a black hat, holds a cross and a book; in the background, St George slays a dragon, as Margaret also did. St Agatha in blue holds a pincers with a breast, a reference to her martyrdom. St Cunera, patron of the Rhenen area near Utrecht, holds a cradle and an arrow; she was said be one of the 11,000 companions of St Ursula.

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