1 November 2013, All Saints
Since this feast was not definitively introduced into the universal calendar until the 9th century, we don't see references to it in the most ancient chant manuscripts. Some chants have been borrowed from older feasts; and some, like the Alleluia and the Communion, have been composed in the classical style of plainsong. It is the feast of All Saints. Scarcely another feast brings out the truth so forcibly, that God is the Sun from which emanate all those rays of light we admire in the saints, as we sing in the Invitatory antiphon: 'Come, let us adore God who is glorified in the company of the saints.'
Introit: Gaudeamus, begin on C (as do)
Offertory: From all Thy saints in warfare, p. 262, sung to tune Aurelia; begin on G
Communion: Beati mundo, begin on G (as la)
Recessional: For all the saints, p. 263, all verses, begin on C
Mass VIII, PBC p. 52. Credo III, PBC p. 77
This Introit is a well known and often sung antiphon, originally composed for the feast of St. Agatha, and later adapted for various feasts 'sub honore ______'. For the commentary, cf. last year’s music notes for the Assumption (15 August) and/or Our Lady of the Rosary (7 October). It has two phrases, both of which are subdivided:
- (a) Gaudeamus omnes in Domino
(b) diem festum celebrantes sub honore Sanctorum omnium:
- (a) de quorum solemnitate gaudent angeli [N.B. the plural, quorum, not the singular, cujus]
(b) et collaudant Filium Dei.
The Communion antiphon is taken from the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount and the four phrases follow the text of St Matthew's Gospel:
- Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt:
- beati pacifici, quoniam filii Dei vocabuntur
- beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter justitiam,
- quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum
The first and last phrases have an identical musical rhythm, while the other two, written a third higher, have practically the same rhythm. This melodic correspondence may serve to remind us that basically all the beatitudes are but the fulfillment of this word of God: 'I am. . .your exceedingly great reward' (Gen. 15: 1). Special attention should be given the threefold beati. The first, as if sung by angels' voices, sets in on the dominant of the mode, transcending the misery of sin. The descending movement which follows brings, as it were, the purity of heaven down to earth. The beatitude embraces here the range of a fourth. Peace and simplicity characterize the second phrase, which ranges within a minor third. To be a harbinger of peace is the quiet yet blessed work of the 'children of God.'
The third beati has an entirely different ring. It proclaims that even when you must undergo persecution, when you must bring sacrifice to be just and to uphold what is right, when you must suffer to protect and defend the Church, then also are you blessed, for the kingdom of heaven awaits you. This third beati the Church wishes to be deeply engraven on the soul. No persecution, however vehement, can drown its triumphant ring. It seems to encourage us with the words of Tertullian: 'One Christian is greater than the whole world.' Even though c a, c g, a g, a g over persecutionem patiuntur may sound like the strokes of a scourge, like the striking of stone against stone, still the heart of the martyr is hopeful and happy as he sings: beati. In Holy Communion we were allowed to contemplate God, we were privileged to receive the King of peace into our hearts, and with Him the kingdom of heaven: He it is who gives us strength for sacrifice and for persecution. And He will remain with us until He can endow us with His entire blessedness for all eternity, until, united with all the saints, we can render Him our thanks without ceasing.