LOST FEASTS: October 31 - Commemoration of the Holy Relics
of the great tragedies of the 20th century liturgical changes was the
"Romanization" of the Dominican calendar that occurred in the
revision of 1960, and which is codified in the calendar of the 1962 Breviarium
iuxta ritum sacri ordinis praedicatorum. Many unique Dominican feasts
were removed from the liturgical calendar of the Order, including those of many
Dominican blessed's and many other feasts that were particular to the Dominican
Order.One such feast was the Feast of the Holy Relics.
Collect prayer from the 1909 Breviarium iuxta
ritum sacri ordinis, when the feast was celebrated on October 30.
noted in the Martyrology of the Sacred Order of Friars Preachers (Bonniwell,
1955), this feast was a commemoration of "holy martyrs and of the other
saints, whose bodies or relics are preserved in our churches." In
the 1909 Breviarium iuxta ritum sacri ordinis
the feast is celebrated on October 30, however in the 1924 Breviarium
S.O.P. it appears on October 31, the Vigil of All Saints Day, and
remained there until it was removed in 1960. The feast had the rank
of a totum duplex feast, which in 1962 would have been considered a 1st
Class Feast. For the Office, everything was taken from the Common of
Many Martyrs, except the Collect (see below), and lessons 4, 5, and 6 at
Matins, which were taken from a tract by St. John Damascene's "De
Fide Orthodoxa" . A commemoration of St. Quintinus was also
made. Interestingly, this feast superseded the Vigil of All Saints at
Matins, as noted in the 1924 Breviarium S.O.P., which states "De Vigilia
Sanctorum in Officio nihil fit" at the end of the Office.
"Liturgical Meditations for the Entire Year" by the Sisters of St.
Dominic, Adrian, MI (B. Herder, 1960):
are the saints…who constantly assist before the throne of God.
is wonderful in His saints.
Lauds, Dominican Breviary)
Holy Order has set aside this day of special honor the saints whose relics are
preserved in our churches. Many of these saints are our own Dominican
brothers and sisters; all of them are members of Christ who used their bodily
faculties for the glory of God in the service of His holy Church.
honor the relics of the saints because their bodies are, in a sense, the body
of Christ. In each of them the Son of God has been mystically incarnate;
in every one of them He has prayed and labored and suffered in accordance with
the Father’s will. How precious is our participation in His work and in
His passion! How grateful we should be that He has deigned to share with
us the pain and burden of His redemptive love. “You are the body of
Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27)
Relics of St. Thomas Aquinas at the Church of the Jacobins,
relics of the saints are honored because their souls enjoy the beatific vision,
and the bodies once animated by these blessed souls are still in somewise
associated with them. Since human personality requires the union of body
and soul, the citizens of heaven will one day regain the physical faculties
with which they honored God and served their fellow men.
truly worth of our reverence are the bodies of our heavenly brothers and
sisters! With their faculties of sight and speech and hearing, by their
capacity for weariness and pain, they have done the work of Christ and shared
the burden of His cross. May it be joy for us to pay the price of
suffering and exhaustion for the cause of God. In eternal light our souls
and bodies will exult in the sacrifice God asks of us today. ”My heart and my
flesh have rejoiced in the living God” (Ps 83:3)
the office for today’s feast, St. John Damascene tells us that the bodies of
the saints should not be called dead in the sense of useless or inactive
because their relics are the means whereby God confers countless blessings upon
us. In honoring the holy relics we are professing our faith in the
resurrection of Christ and our hope that we may one day rise to eternal glory.
we look forward joyfully t the feast of All Saints, we lift our eyes to that
home where we hope to spend eternity united to one another in God. How
often do we travel heavenward in mind and heart? Perhaps we sometimes
sorry over temporal loss and separation as if we had no assurance of eternal
joy. In attaining God we shall possess all things, and were we to achieve
all else without Him, we would have nothing. He is Himself our one
reward, exceeding great. “What have I in heaven? And besides The wat do I
desire upon earth?” (Ps. 72:25)
God, who willed to adorn this church with the relics of so many saints; grant
that we Your servants may enjoy in heaven the fellowship of those whose memory
we venerate on earth: Through our Lord...