A thick evergreen wreath adorned with with four candles: this is the image that comes to mind when we think of a classic Advent wreath. They’re as common as Christmas trees in German homes during the run-up to Christmas—and not uncommon here. So what is the origin of this magical German tradition?
Remember that Gratitude is Love projected into the Past. Come join us Thanksgiving Day as we offer up our Gratitude to God for all our many blessings. It’s the best antidote for Envy—corrosive resentment over all the things others have that we think we deserve.
The Feast of All Saints is a major holy day in both the Anglican and Catholic churches (as well as several other denominations), celebrated annually on November 1. It is a day dedicated to all the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. Over the centuries, many of these saints have suffered and even died for Our Lord, sustained in life largely by their tenacious faith.
Although millions—or even billions—of people may already be saints, many All Saints' Day observances tend to focus on known saints, those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Church.
Painting by Fra Angelico
From the Anglican Breviary (An Anglican liturgical book borrowed largely from a much earlier Roman Catholic one. It contains readings, meditations, prayers, hymns, and Psalms to be used at daily offices.):
“Now it must be understood that the word Angel is the name of an office rather than the designation of the nature of these beings. For the holy ones of heaven are always spirits, but they are not always accurately called Angels, which is, being interpreted, Messengers, for they are Angels only when they are sent as Messengers. Hence also it is said by the Psalmist : He maketh his Angels spirits, and his Ministers : as to indicate that he has made them spirits, and that of these spirits he sometimes maketh some to minister in the office of messenger. They that go on a lesser ambassage are called Angels, that is Messengers. They that go on a great ambassage are called Archangels, that is Chief Messengers. Hence it is that unto the Virgin Mary was sent no common Angel, but the Archangel Gabriel. […] The individual names also are so given as to signify the kind of ministry wherein each is powerful. Michael is by interpretation : Who is like unto God? Gabriel : The Strength of God. Raphael : The Medicine of God.”
Michael is reported by St. John in the Revelation to have led the angelic host that defeated the rebellious “dragon” (Satan) and his minions and then expelled them from heaven. Thus Michael is often depicted in art with a drawn sword.