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.
The Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. He is, of course, one of the patrons of St. George’s and St. Matthew’s. Matthew was likely born in Galilee and worked as a tax collector, a hated profession at the time.
According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and extended the invitation, "Follow me." Matthew immediately became a disciple.
The Gospel account of Matthew tells the same story as that found in the other three Gospels, so scholars have confidence in its authenticity. His book is the first of the four Gospels found in the New Testament.
Around A.D.41–50, several years after the death of Christ, Matthew wrote his Gospel account. He wrote it in Aramaic* in the hope that his narrative would convince others that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and that his kingdom had been established in a spiritual sense. His relics are said to lie in Salerno, Italy.
*”Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew [Aramaic] language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed. Who translated it after that in Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Moreover, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Beroea [modern-day Aleppo] to copy it.”
— St. Jerome (A.D.347?–420; scholar & translator of the Bible into Latin): De viris inlustribus (On Illustrious Men), chapter III.