In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!


Monday, November 2, 2009

For All the Saints

I've returned whole from my brief jaunt to Florida, despite an occasionally harrowing airline experience (more on that in a coming post). One highlight of my visit was attending Mass with my family on All Saints Day (November 1). An excellent sermon on what it takes to become a "saint" was preceded by the rousing and inspirational hymn For All the Saints, with text published in 1864 by Will­iam W. How and music arranged by the great English composer Ralph Vaugh­an Will­iams. This work is a fitting tribute to all those--ancient and modern, prominent and obscure--who have labored long in service to God and fellow man. May we emulate their example.

The selection below features a beautiful rendition of this hymn, although the "video" is static, being a detail of the painting Christ Glorified in the Court of Heaven by the 15th century master Fra Angelico. The great music is enough this time--I hope it arouses you as it did me! The text appears below the video.

(I know this is three hymns in a row, but I haven't had time enough lately for all the research and extended commentary that normally go into my more "news"-worthy posts. I hope to make that up soon!)

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!


It's A Wonderful said...

What a great time we had! It was so great to see you. I am so glad that you enjoyed mass...the music at this parish is beautifully traditional. Someday, Jason and I shall fly north and visit you and Mel!

jojo said...

You have great taste in music!

Anonymous said...

Hi there--what a glorious version of this great old hymn! There's nothing like the sound of an English cathedral choir (I am assuming they were English...?) singing a hymn the way it is meant to be sung, without a lot of bombast (unlike a certain choir which shall remain nameless is wont to do...)!! THANKS!