Friday, November 3, 2017

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to All Saints' Sunday

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Re 7:9–12)

Whatever this multitude might be, by expressing these names he indicates the universal church.… Through the naming of these seven virtues, we are exhorted to inquire after the reason why he named those things here in which God desires His Church to participate. It is for this reason that when these are given to God in praise, they might confess that they have received each of them from Him. For we ought not consider that God alone is capable of the virtues named here, but that He has found them worthy also to give to the faithful. We rejoice that the Church of Christ is allowed to participate in all of these good things: blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might. It does not mention omnipotence or majesty or eternity, for God alone always rightly possesses these things. But in these seven we recognize all those virtues that could be granted to the faithful from Him who gave them power to become the sons of God. And so, if we have acquired any of those good things, we shall know with certainty that we have them by the generosity of God.

Primasius of Hadrumetum, Commentary on the Apocalypse

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