Collect: O Almighty God, who has 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 has prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Epistle: Revelation 7.2-12 Gospel: St Matthew 5.1-12
Whatever may have been [historically] the origin of the festival, it has become one very dear to the hearts of Christians, and is made, both by the character of the Service for the day, and by the meaning of it, one of the most touching of all holydays; a day on which are gathered up the fragments of the “one bread” of Christ’s Mystical Body, that nothing be lost of the memory and example of His Saints.
First among the “cloud of witnesses” are they of the white-robed army of martyrs who are not otherwise commemorated, whose names are not noted in the diptychs of the Church, but are for ever written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Next are a multitude of those who were called to wait with St John, rather than to follow their Master with St Peter, but who are not less surely numbered among the children of God, and have their lot among the saints. Among that holy company are some who are dear to the memory of a whole Church; good bishops and priests, whose flocks are around them in the book of remembrance; saintly men and women, whose lives have been devoted to works of love, although not ministering at the altar; hidden saints of God, whose holiness was known within the narrowest circle on earth, but who will shine like stars in the firmament before the throne.
When the Church thanks God on this day for All Saints, many an one among them should be remembered by those who are left on earth. At the Holy Communion and in private devotions, their names should be used in memorial before God; and prayers should be offered by those to whom they are still dear, and with whom they are still in one fellowship, that all loved ones departed may have more and more the Light, Peace, and Refreshment which the Presence of Christ gives in Paradise.
[Comment by John Henry Blunt from his THE ANNOTATED BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, 2nd edition, 1884, p.342 (lst edition 1866).]
Note that Blunt's massive Book , which is a commentary on the 1662 BCP, is available on a CD in pdf form from the Prayer Book Society for $12.50. Call 1-800-727-1928 or visit www.anglicanmarketplace.com
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.)