All Saints Day
(Feast Day 1 November,
Holy Day of Obligation)

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Adoration of the Lamb of God by all the Saints from the Ghent Altarpiece - by Jan van EYCK . . . . from Cathedral of St Bavo, Ghent


Revelation 7:2-4,9-14

I, John, saw another angel come up from the east holding the seal of the living God. He cried out at the top of his voice to the four angels who were given power to ravage the land and the sea, "Do no harm to the land or the sea or the trees until we imprint this seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." I heard the number of those who were so marked -- one hundred and forty-four thousand from every tribe of Israel.

After this I saw before me a huge crowd which no one could count from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and the Lamb, dressed in long white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, "Salvation is from our God, Who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb!" All the angels who were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures fell down before the throne to worship God. They said: "Amen! Praise and glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, and honor, power and might to our God forever and ever. Amen!"

Then one of the elders asked me, "Who do you think these are, all dressed in white? And where have they come from?" I said to him, "Sir, you should know better than I." He then told me, "These are the ones who have survived the great period of trial; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


Feast of All Saints

by Father Charles Irvin, M.Div, J.D.

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The Lamb of God from
the Donne Triptych (left wing) -
by MEMLING, Hans -
from National Gallery, London

If you've been to Rome you've no doubt seen the Pantheon, that marvelous feat of architecture that blends rectangles, triangles and circles into one whole. It was originally built as the pagan temple of Agrippa, dedicated as a place wherein one could offer worship to all of the gods of Rome.

May 13, 610 A.D. that pagan temple was consecrated as a Christian temple by Pope Boniface IV under the title of Our Lady of the Martyrs. Many of the martyr's relics were brought up from the catacombs and placed in that temple, now a Christian church, which later came to be known as the Church of Our Lady and all the Saints.

In the
year 835 A.D. Pope Gregory IV set November 1st as the Feast of All Saints, and a later pope, Gregory VII, transferred the feast of the dedication of that temple likewise to November 1st.

All Saints Day, therefore, celebrates the victory of Church over the false gods of the pagans. The Apocalyptic first reading of today's Mass presents the setting, a universal gathering of all in Christ's victory.

The number 12, in biblical symbolism, represents what is "universal". The number 144,000 is 12xl2x1000, a plenary assembly of immeasurable fullness, all standing before the Altar in heaven where the Lamb stands upright, yet slain in sacrifice.

The Altar, the Lamb and the Priest are all Christ, everlastingly offering Himself to the Father, having in His Body and in His Blood subsumed our humanity into His, sacrificing (making sacra - sacred) all who had joined themselves into Him to our Father in heaven.


vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes) O ye Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Dominions, Principalities and Powers, Virtues of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, ye Patriarchs and Prophets, holy Doctors, Apostles, all Martyrs of Christ, holy Confessors, Virgins of the Lord, Hermits, and all Saints: pray for us, intercede for us, and with your prayers lift us all up before the face of God.



vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes) Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and power and strength to our God for ever and ever, unto ages of ages.