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Unseen realities

Unseen realities

The Solemnity of All Saints celebrates the unseen reality of the Church Triumphant: those who have gone to their eternal reward in heaven.

The Feast of All Souls extends our horizons to include the unseen reality of the Church Expectant (in Purgatory).  Indeed throughout this month of November, we pray most ardently for those who have gone before us, that they will soon join the saints triumphant in heaven.

The third part of the Church is the visible part that includes us: ‘the Church Militant.’ This term does not refer to acts of violence done in the name of religion but rather to our life-long fight against our own concupiscence.  Dangerously, if this unseen reality is forgotten, the battle will be lost.

In this month of November, as we try especially to remember the unseen realities of the Church Expectant, let us use that great hymn in honour of the Church Triumphant to inspire us, the Church Militant, in our own feeble struggles and to remind us of the unseen reality awaiting us – please God – when this battle is done.

For all the saints who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confess,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

8. The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
by William W. How, 1823-1897



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