Monday, November 8, 2010
Octave Day of All Saints, Treatise by Saint Cyprian
Octave Day of All Saints
From the Treatise on Mortality, by Saint Cyprian the Bishop and Martyr
Dearly beloved : We should keep in mind, and ponder well ; that we have made a renunciation of the world, and so are supposed to spend our time here meanwhile as strangers and pilgrims. Let us reflect on that day which can see us each at home in one of the many mansions. That day will see us delivered hence, and disentangled from the nets and snares of things temporal. It will put us back into the true Garden of Eden, that is , the kingdom of heaven. Is there any in a far country that hath opportunity to return to his Fatherland, and maketh not his way thereto with all possible speed? Was ever any in haste to make his voyage homeward, that longed not for a fair wind, that the might the sooner embrace his loved ones?
We reckon a paradise like unto Eden to be our home ; already we begin to know of the Patriarchs as our kinsmen. Why should we not make haste and run, to see our home, and to greet our kinsfolk? A great many of those we love are waiting for us there - father and mother and brothers and children. There in great company they await is, they who are sure now await us, they who are sure now never to die any more, but not yet sure of us. O when we come to see them, and to embrace them, what gladness will it be both for us and for them! O what brightness of life is in that heavenly kingdom, where is no more fear of death, but the certainty of living everlastingly! O what consummated felicity! O what enduring joy!
There is the glorious company of the Apostles. There is the jubilant fellowship of the Prophets. There is the countless army of Martyrs crowned for victory in strife and in suffering. There triumph Virgins who by noble self-control have tamed the desires of the flesh and of the body. There are repaid with mercy the Merciful, who by feeding and gifting the needy, have wrought righteousness, have kept the commandments of the Lord, and have exchanged heritages upon earth for treasures in heaven. Thitherward, dearly beloved brethren, let us hasten with eager hearts. Let us fain to be with these, so that soon their lot may be ours also, namely to e with Christ.