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All Saints Sunday

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Revelation vii. 2   &   St. Matthew v. 1 
Hymn: For All the Saints

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven

" In today's homily, Augustine wrote, 

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." How foolish, therefore, are those who seek God with these outward eyes, since He is seen with the heart! as it is written elsewhere, "And in singleness of heart seek Him." For that is a pure heart which is a single heart: and just as this light cannot be seen, except with pure eyes; so neither is God seen, unless that is pure by which He can be seen. 

Jesus taught that God indeed marks those sacrifices his elect make day by day in following his prime directive, and they who are his own; who are pure of heart, will see the face of God. So then there are two things here, those that are unseen, such as the pure heart, the meek (not weak, but rather not puffed up with themselves), those whose spirits are distressed at the fallen state of the world and their own failings, and those who spirits thirst for the truths of the Gospel. These are the things internal and not seen by man, but known by God. On the other hand, our Lord made a specific point in emphasizing things that are quite visible. Men who love their neighbors practice mercy and are peacemakers. So we see that the blessed are those who put the Lord's Summary of the Law into practice by walking humbly before God for whom they have unfeigned love, and by working out his command to love their neighbor by acts of mercy and peace. 

Some often wonder, "Will I go to heaven, will I be a saint?"  God knows, and those who are heaven bound are his saints already. Those who can readily identify with the attributes described in the beatitudes may have confidence that they will be in that number.

Finally, in the sermon, Jesus but turned to his disciples and promised them they would face persecution for their faith in him, but that their reward would be great.  The first "saint" of the church whose day of martydom was celebrated annually was Bishop Polycarp in about 155 AD. When asked to deny Christ he said,  "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"  I pray that each of you are prepared to say the same if that day come, and to meekly withstand persecution from an ever more aggressive and belligerent world, overcoming evil with good.  As our collect today says, 
 Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living

From all Thy saints in warfare, for all Thy saints at rest,

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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