Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Octave of All Saints 2020: The Confessors, and the Resurrection of the Just

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 most blessed doctors of Christ and the glorious confessors succeeded to the Apostolic inheritance, in order tend the vineyard of the Lord, which through Christ was brought out of Egypt, and through the Apostles planted upon the mountain of the Lord’s inheritance, and watered by the blood of the martyrs. They came to pluck out with hoe of their preaching every act of impiety, and water it with the many streams of their teachings, and propagate its branches, already stretched forth far and wide, until the general change should take place in the second resurrection, and the vine be transplanted to His holy mountain, and every corruption laid aside. For the first resurrection is the avoidance of the darkness of sin, and the possession of the light of justice; the second belongeth only to the just, when death, the enemy, shall be destroyed, and being clothed with immortality in both body and soul, they shall happily be brought to see the face of the Creator forever, under the banner of the heavenly fatherland.
The Last Judgement Polyptych, by Rogier van der Weyden, 1446-52, from the Musée de l'Hôtel Dieu, Beaune, France. (click for larger image)
From the sermon of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, on the feast of Saint Victor, also called Vittré, a hermit of Arcis-sur-aube in Champagne, who died in 610 A.D. His feast is kept on February 26th. (This quotation is taken from the original edition of Fr. Alban Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and expresses with a beauty typical of the “Doctor Mellifluus - the Doctor whose speech flows like honey”, the Church’s theology of the intercession of the Saints in Heaven in Heaven for those of us on earth.)

“Now placed in heaven, he beholds God clearly revealed to him, swallowed up in joy, but not forgetting us. It is not a land of oblivion in which Victor dwells. Heaven doth not harden or straiten hearts, but it maketh them more tender and compassionate; it doth not distract minds, nor alienate them from us; it doth not diminish, but it increaseth affection and charity: it augmenteth the depths of piety. The angels, although they behold the face of their Father, visit, run, and continually assist us; and shall they now forget us who were once among us, and who once suffered themselves what they see us at present labouring under? No: I know the just expect me till thou renderest to me my reward. Victor is not like that cup-bearer of Pharaoh, who could forget his fellow-captive. He hath not so put on the stole of glory himself, as to lay aside his pity, or the remembrance of our misery.”

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