All Saints Day

Introit Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honour of all the Saints: at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. Psalm. Rejoice in the Lord, ye just: praise becomes the upright. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Let us all rejoice …

Collect              Almighty and everlasting God, who hast enabled us to honour in one solemn Feast the merits of all Thy saints: we beseech Thee, that, with so many praying for us, Thou wouldst pour forth on us the abundance of Thy mercy for which we long. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

 Lesson (Apocalypse 7: 2– 12) In those days: behold, I, John, saw another Angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four Angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, “Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.”

And I heard the number of them that were signed: 144,000 were signed out of every tribe of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Ruben 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Gad 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Aser 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Nephthali 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Manasses 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Simeon 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Levi 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Issachar 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Zabulon 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Joseph 12,000 signed: of the tribe of Benjamin 12,000 signed.

After this, I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the Angels stood round about the throne, and the ancients and the four living creatures; and they fell down before the throne upon their faces, and adored God, saying, Amen. Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honour and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.

 Gradual          (Psalm 33: 10, 11) Fear the Lord, all ye His Saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. But they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good.

Alleluia           Alleluia, alleluia, (Mt. 11:28.) Come to Me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Alleluia.

 The Gospel (Matthew 5:1-12) At that time, Jesus seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain; and when He was sat down, His disciples came unto Him. And opening His mouth, He taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.

 Offertory        (Wisdom 3:1-2, 3) The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the  torment of malice shall not touch them: in the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, but they are in peace. Alleluia.

 The Secret      We offer to Thee, O Lord, the gifts of our devotion: may they be well-leasing to Thee in honour of all the just, and through Thy mercy avail us unto salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …

Communion   (Matthew 5:8-10) Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God: blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God: blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Post-Communion Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy faithful people may ever rejoice in honouring all Thy Saints, and may be defended by their unceasing prayers. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …

Christ the King

Christ is King of the world, of all souls, and of all space and time. Today however, we have a difficulty with this reality. We think of the idea of Christ as King as something which is borrowed from the Middle Ages, and is even unpalatable for us in this day and age when we hold up democracy as an ideal (whether that ideal is real or imaginary). We also tend to think of the Lord as King only at the end of the world, if we even think of His Kingship at all. For both these reasons, the Feast of Christ the King seems to be a rather obsolete feast.

However, this is quite wrong-headed, even if it is understandable in the modern context. It is, in fact, back the front. The concept of kingship comes from God: God is the first king and the greatest of kings. Earthly kings are allowed to share in His kingship. As kings they are subject to Him, and bound in conscience to rule in His Name and following His commandments. If we go back to the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt we even find that they believed their kingship had descended to earth from heaven. And they were correct. In the Old Testament we read that the Hebrew people were keen to have a king like the other nations because they were lawless. And then, when the Lord consented, the king was the anointed of God.

So kingship on earth is based on kingship in heaven: it is a shadow of that celestial rule. Does anyone imagine that there is a democracy in heaven, and that souls vote others into positions and offices? In heaven, all is done in accordance with the Will of God, it is perfectly disposed, and no one could be more blessed than those who lovingly accept His Holy Will.

In us, true kingship in the image of Christ is when our reason and conscience govern our spirit, our feelings, and our actions. Since the Fall, our minds have been wounded. We barely hear our consciences. But we can change. We can rule ourselves in accordance with reason. It needs grace, and it needs fully formed intentions. Godly methods of meditation can help us form our intentions in accordance with reason and conscience.

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