Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Feast of Thanksgiving

With November quickly approaching two huge feasts are drawing near:  All Saints Day on November 1, which is a Holy Day of Obligation, and All Souls Day on November 2.  (You can find many prayers for these days on Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam here.)  

To begin preparing for these great feasts of Holy Mother Church, I wanted to focus on the feast of All Saints Day.  This feast can be looked at as a day of thanksgiving within the Church.  Pope Gregory IV instituted this feast for the universal Church more than eleven hundred years ago in an attempt to ensure that none of those holy souls, canonized or not, would be forgotten.  This feast covers all the innumerable holy souls who have reached their heavenly goal, those souls that now contemplate the Face of God and can pray for us.  As St. Teresa of Avila prayed, 

"O holy ones who knew how to prepare so delightful an inheritance, help us now that you are so near the fount of all holiness.  Draw water for those of us who are perishing from thirst."

One fitting prayer to recite on the Feast of All Saints is the "Litany of the Saints."  This beautiful prayer is believed to be the oldest of the Church's litanies.  It was mentioned in the fourth century by St. Basil, and the Litany of the Saints was prescribed in 590 A.D. by St. Gregory the Great to be used during a procession of thanksgiving after the conclusion of a plague that had devastated Rome.  May we recite this ancient prayer of the Church, honoring the holy men and women who now dwell with our Lord in heaven, and rejoicing and thanking God for these saints' examples and prayers.  

Litany of the Saints 

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy.  Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world. have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us,*** (Repeat after each invocation.)
Holy Mother of God,***
Holy Virgin of virgins,***
St. Michael,***
St. Gabriel,***
St. Raphael,***
All ye holy angels and archangels,***
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits,***
St. John the Baptist,***
St. Joseph,***
All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,***
St. Peter,***
St. Paul,***
St. Andrew,***
St. James,***
St. John,***
St. Thomas,***
St. James,***
St. Philip,***
St. Bartholomew,***
St. Matthew,***
St. Simon,***
St. Thaddeus,***
St. Matthias,***
St. Barnabas,***
St. Luke,***
St. Mark,***
All ye holy apostles and evangelists,***
All ye holy disciples of our Lord,***
All ye holy Innocents,***
St. Stephen,***
St. Lawrence,***
St. Vincent,***
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,***
Sts. John and Paul,***
Sts. Cosmas and Damian,***
Sts. Gervase and Protase,***
All ye holy martyrs,***
St. Sylvester,***
St. Gregory,***
St. Ambrose,***
St. Augustine,***
St. Jerome,***
St. Martin,***
St. Nicholas,***
All ye holy bishops and confessors,***
All ye holy doctors,***
St. Anthony,***
St. Benedict,***
St. Bernard,***
St. Dominic,***
St. Francis,***
All ye holy priests and levites,***
All ye holy monks and hermits,***
St. Mary Magdalen,***
St. Agatha,***
St. Lucy,***
St. Agnes,***
St. Cecilia,***
St. Catherine,***
St. Anastasia,***
All ye holy virgins and widows,***

All ye holy men and women, saints of God, make intercession for us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.

From all evil, O Lord, deliver us.*** (Repeat after each invocation.)
From all sin,***
From Thy wrath,***
From a sudden and unprovided death,***
From the deceits of the devil,***
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,***
From the spirit of fornication,***
From lightning and tempest,***
From the scourge of earthquake,***
From plague, famine, and war,***
From everlasting death,***
Through the mystery of Thy Holy Incarnation,***
Through Thy coming,***
Through Thy Nativity,***
Through Thy baptism and holy fasting,***
Through Thy Cross and Passion,***
Through Thy death and burial,***
Through Thy holy Resurrection,***
Through Thy admirable Ascension,***
Through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete,***
In the day of judgment,***

We sinners, we Thee, hear us.

That Thou wouldst spare us, we beseech thee, hear us.*** (Repeat after each invocation.)
That Thou wouldst pardon us,***
That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance,***
That Thou wouldst govern and preserve Thy holy Church,***
That Thou wouldst preserve our Apostolic Prelate and all ecclesiastical Orders in holy religion,***
That Thou wouldst humble the enemies of Thy holy Church,***
That Thou wouldst give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,***
That Thou wouldst grant peace and unity to all Christian people,***
That Thou wouldst bring back to the unity of the Church all those who have strayed from the truth, and lead to the light of the Gospel all unbelievers,***
That Thou wouldst confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,***
That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,***
That Thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,***
That Thou wouldst deliver our souls and those of our brethren, relations, and benefactors from eternal damnation,***
That Thou wouldst give and preserve the fruits of the earth,***
That Thou wouldst give eternal rest to all the faithful departed,***
That Thou wouldst graciously hear us,***
Son of God,***

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.  Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father...(prayed silently)
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.  Amen.

"Let us rejoice in the Lord as we keep this festival in honor of all the saints; in which solemnity the angels rejoice, while the Archangels praise the Son of God."
(From "Gaudeamus Omnes."  You can listen to a beautiful rendition of this Latin hymn here.)

God bless!

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