7 - 10 minutes readNovember 8 – Octave Day of All Saints ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger

Reader Mode Text to speech


November 8 – Octave Day of All Saints

How could we more appropriately conclude the teachings of this Octave, than by quoting the words used by the Church herself in today’s Liturgy? “Strangers as we are and pilgrims on the earth, let us fix our hearts and our thoughts on the day which will give to each of us a home, and restore us to Paradise. Who, that is on a voyage, would not hasten to return to his country! Who, that is on the way home, would not eagerly desire a favorable wind, that he might the sooner embrace his dear ones! Parents, brothers, children, friends in multitudes impatiently await us in our heavenly fatherland; blessed crowd! already secure of their own eternal happiness, they are solicitous about our salvation. What joy for them and for us, when at length we see them and they may embrace us!

“How great the delight of that heavenly kingdom: no more fear of death; but eternal and supreme happiness! Let all our earnest desires tend to this: that we may be united with the Saints, that together with them we pay possess Christ.”

These enthusiastic words, borrowed from St. Cyprian’s beautiful book “On Mortality,” are used by the Church in her second Nocturn; and in the third she also gives us the strong language of St. Augustine, consoling the faithful, who are obliged still to remain in exile, by reminding them of the great beatitude of this earth: the beatitude of those who are persecuted and cursed by the world. To suffer gladly for Christ, is the Christian’s glory, the invisible beauty which wins for his soul the good pleasure of God, and procures him a great reward in heaven.

He that hurteth, let him hurt still, says our Lord; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is just, let him be justified still; and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Patience, then, Christians! Patience, all who are now despised, for time is short; the fashion of this world passeth away! It is in the light of our Baptism that we must look upon those foolish men, who think themselves strong, because they are violent; who call themselves wise, because pleasure is their only law. When the Man-God, with the spirit of his mouth, shall take vengeance on Satan their leader, their lot will be the indignant sentence heard by the Prophet of Patmos: Without are dogs, murderers, every one that loveth and maketh a lie. Meanwhile the whole creation, which they made the unwilling slave of their corruption, will answer to their disgraceful fall by a triumphant song of deliverance. Itself will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth. It will partake of the glory of the children of God, delivered like itself, and will be worthy to contain the new Jerusalem, the holy city, where in our flesh we shall see God; and where, seated at the right hand of the Father in the Person of Jesus Christ, our glorified human nature will enjoy forever the honors of a bride.

Let us go in spirit to Rome, and direct our steps towards the ancient church on the Cœlian Hill, which bears the name of the Four crowned Martyrs. There are few Saints whose Acts have been more disparaged “by a superficial criticism ignorant of archeological science,” such as that of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. But now “the history and traditions relating to the august monument on the Cœlian have been restored to honor by learned men and antiquaries, whom no one could accuse of superstition, or of a blind credulity with regard to mediæval legends.” Such is the unanswerable decision of the Commandant de Rossi. Let us, then, with the holy Liturgy, offer our homage and prayers to the titular Saints of this venerable church, who once held offices of trust in the empire; and let us not forget those other Martyrs, the five sculptors, who like the former preferred death to infidelity, and now share the glory of their tomb.

Præsta, quæsumus omnipotens Deus: ut, qui gloriosos Martyres fortes in sua confessione cognovimus, pios apud te in nostra intercessione sentiamus. Per Dominum. Grant we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who know thy glorious Martyrs to have been strong in their confession of thee, may experience their compassion by their interceding for us with thee. Through our Lord.

Let us honor all the Saints by a Sequence long sung on this Octave day by the church of Seville.

Ad honorem Salvatoris,
Intus corde, voce foris,
concinat hæc concio;
Dulcis erit melodia
si concordent ista tria:
Cor, os, operatio.
To the honor of our Savior, let this assembly sing, both with the inward music of the heart, and with the outward sound of the voice; sweet will be the melody if these three be of one accord: heart, lips, and action.
Admirandus est in sanctis
Suis Deus; sed cum tantis
Tandem bonis satiat,
Cur dum spirant in hac vita
Vix respirant, eos ita
Flagellat et cruciat?
God is wonderful is his Saints; but since at the last he satisfied them with such good things, wherefore, while they live this life, are they scarce able to breathe, he so scourges and torments them?
Numquid, Christe, pie odis
Quos diversis pœnæ modis
Dignum ducis affici,
Et attritos in tormentis
Sæpe sinis et consentis
Diræ neci subjici?
Is it, O Christ, that thou dost lovingly hate them, since thou judgest well that they should suffer in so many ways, and permittest them often to be crushed under tortures and subjected to a cruel death?
Sed non odit, sed explorat
Quo affectu quis laborat
In ejus obsequio;
Amat cunctos, probat tamen
Per sudorem et certamen
Quanta sit devotio.
Nay, he hates them not, but seeks to know with how much love each one labors in his service; he loves them all, yet he proves, by the toil and the strife, how great is their devotedness.
Certant enim contra mundum,
Hostem nequam et immundum,
Carnis quoque vitia;
Hac imprimis confessores
Martyresque formant mores
Virili constantia.
For they strive against the world, the wicked unclean foe, the vices of the flesh; ’tis chiefly by this manly constancy that confessors and martyrs form themselves to virtue.
Est certamen speciale
Quod confligit capitale
Martyri supplicium;
Sed interdum confessori
Litor deest in litori
Carnis optans gaudium.
The special combat for the martyr is that which gives him the stroke of death; but for the confessor the executioner is wanting; he must choose the struggle against the pleasures of the flesh.
Ob amorem ergo Christi
Certant illi, certant isti,
Tam mares quam feminæ:
Qui plus sudat in agone
Plus mercedis et coronæ
Refert pro certamine.
’Tis therefore for the love of Christ that strive the former and the latter, whether men or women; and he that labors most in the strife, carries off a higher prize, a brighter crown for his combat.
Omnes Deo sunt electi:
Velit Deus horum flecti
Meritis et precibus,
Ut quum dies erit dira
Non nos sua subdat ira
Tartari tortoribus.
All are elected by God: may God allow himself to be moved by their merits and prayers, that when the terrible day shall come, he may not in his wrath hand us over to the infernal torturers.
Sed hunc nostra laudet lyra
Cum cœlorum civibus.
But rather may our lyre be permitted to praise him in the company of the heavenly citizens. Amen.

Let us next pray for our dear departed ones. The Missals of several churches furnish us with this earnest supplication.

De profundis exclamantes
Audi, Christe, nostra voces
In cœlesti cura:
Pro defunctis fidelibus
Orat nunc mater omnibus,
Te supplex Ecclesia.
As we cry out from the depths, hear, O Christ, our voices from thy heavenly court: mother Church now suppliantly implores thee for all the faithful departed.
Fiant ergo intendentes
Ut audiant tuæ aures
Vocis hæc suffragia:
Vox hæc orat, Rex gloriæ
Fidelibus ut hodie
Concedes remedia.
Let, then, thine ears be attentive to hear her prayerful voice: this voice that calls on thee, O King of glory, to grant this day some relief to the faithful.
Peccatores quamvis simus,
Sustinere nec possimus,
Si observes vitia:
Fiat tamen salutaris
Quæ offertur nunc a nobis
Pro defunctis hostia.
Although we are sinners and unable to endure if thou consider our vices: still, let the victim now offered by us avail for the dead.
Hæc quam Patri obtulisti
Offerimus et nos ipsi;
Sit eis propitia:
Propitius esto eis;
Solve vincla, Jesu, reis
In tua potentia.
See, we offer the same as thou didst offer to the Father: may it be a succor to them; yea, be thou propitious to them, and in thy might, O Jesus, loose the bonds of the guilty.
Propter legem quam dedisti,
Te sustinent quos fecisti:
Averte supplicia:
Te sustinent, eruantur;
In te sperant, educantur
Ad cœli palatia.
Because of the law which thou hast given, the creatures thou hast made wait for thee; turn away the punishment: they wait for thee, may they be delivered; they trust in thee, lead them forth to the heavenly dwellings.
In te sperant, in te credunt;
Ad te tendunt et suspirant
De fæcis miseria:
In te mane et vespere
Sit eis fiducia.
In thee they trust, in thee they believe, towards thee they yearn and sigh from their awful depth of misery; in thee by day, in thee by night, in thee at morn and evening be their sure confidence.
Sit apud te quem rogamus,
Pro qua tibi supplicamus,
Pietatis copia:
Ut redimas eas, Christe,
Supplex rogat cœtus iste,
Ab omni nequitia.
With thee, we implore, be that abundant mercy for which we pray; that thou wouldst redeem them, O Christ, from all evil, this suppliant crowd beseeches thee.
Reginarum imperatrix,
Tua roget te genitrix:
Fiat horum impetratrix,
Quæ rogamus, Maria.
Bone Jesu Rex gloriæ,
Omnes sancti præcipue
Te rogantes sint hodie
Pro eorum venia.
Let the Queen of queens, thy Mother, intercede; may Mary obtain for us what we ask. O good Jesus, King of glory, let all thy Saints ask pardon for them, especially on this day.
Qui per crucem exaltatus
Peccatorum es misertus,
Audi preces queis devotus
Ad te clamat noster cœtus
Cum misericordia.
Per te vincula confrigantur,
Portæ mortis destruantur,
Diaboli confundantur,
Et animæ consequantur
Sempiterna gaudia.
O thou who, raised upon the cross, didst take pity on sinners, mercifully hear the prayers wherewith our assembly cries to thee. By thee may all bonds be broken, the gates of death destroyed, the devils put to confusion, and souls obtain possession of never-ending joys. Amen.


This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)