from Dom Gueranger's Liturgical Year (subtiles and conclusion added)
I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: and they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God! (Apoc 7:9-10)
The end of the world
Time is no more; it is the human race eternally saved, that is thus presented in vision to the prophet of Patmos.
- Our life of struggle and suffering on earth is, then, to have an end.
- Our long lost race is to fill up the angelic ranks thinned by Satan’s revolt; and, uniting in the gratitude of the redeemed of the Lamb, the faithful spirits will sing with us: Thanksgiving, honour, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever!
And this shall be the end, as the Apostle says;
- the end of death and suffering;
- the end of history and of its revolutions which will then be explained.
- The old enemy, hurled down with his followers into the abyss, will live on only to witness his own eternal defeat.
- The Son of Man, the Saviour of the world, will have delivered the kingdom to God his Father; and God, the last end of creation and of redemption, will be all in all.
Vestment metaphors in the heavenly kingdom
Isaias: the saints are the train and fringes of God's vestment
Long before the seer of the Apocalypse, Isaias sang: I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and elevated, and his train filled the temple. And the Seraphim cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory. (Is 6:1-6)
The train and fringes of God’s vesture are the elect, who are the adornment of the Word, the splendour of the Father. For since the Word has espoused our human nature, that nature is His glory, as He is the glory of God.
The graces of the saints are the Bride's (the Church's) garment
The Bride herself is clothed with the justifications of the Saints; and when this glittering robe is perfected, the signal will be given for the end of time. This feast announces the ever-growing nearness of the eternal nuptials; for on it we annually celebrate the progress of the Bride’s preparations.
The sacrifices of the saints are jewels on their nuptial robe of charity received in baptism
Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb! Blessed are we all, who have received in Baptism the nuptial robe of holy charity, which entitles us to a seat at the heavenly banquet! Let us prepare ourselves for the unspeakable destiny reserved for us by love. To this end are directed all the labours of this life: toils, struggles, sufferings for God’s sake, all adorn with priceless jewels the garment of grace, the clothing of the elect. Blessed are they that mourn!
Joy for the elect, hope for the living
They that have gone before us wept as they turned the furrows and cast in the seed; but now their triumphant joy overflows upon us as an anticipated glory in this valley of tears. Without waiting for the dawn of eternity, the present solemnity gives us to enter by hope into the land of light, whither our fathers have followed Jesus the divine forerunner.
- Do not the thorns of suffering lose their sharpness at the sight of the eternal joys into which they are to blossom?
- Does not the happiness of the dear departed cause a heavenly sweetness to mingle with our sorrow?
Let us hearken to the chants of deliverance sung by those for whom we weep; little and great, this is the feast of them all, as it will one day be ours.
Season methaphor: Autumn is a presage of the end
At this season, when cold and darkness prevail, nature herself, stripping off her last adornments, seems to be preparing the world for the passage of the human race into the heavenly country. Let us, then, sing with the Psalmist (Ps 121)
I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet as yet stand only in thy outer courts; but we see thy building ever going on, O Jerusalem, city of peace, compacted together in concord and love.
To thee do the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, praising the name of the Lord; thy vacant seats are being filled up.
May all good things be for them that love thee, O Jerusalem; may peace be in thy strength, and abundance in thy towers.
For the sake of my brethren and of my neighbours, who are already thy inhabitants, I take pleasure in thee; because of the Lord our God, whose dwelling thou art, I have placed in thee all my desire.
My dear brethren, let us too place all a desire in this heavenly Jerusalem..
- that we may be the train and fringes of God's vestment;
- that the Bride (the Church) may be clothed in our graces;
- that our sacrifices be jewels on our nuptial robes;
- that we may have hope in this valley of tears as we look upon the new Jerusalem in its construction.
We make this prayer through the Blessed Virgin Mary who dwells there-in.