Today, November 1st, is the Feast of All Saints.
It is a major feast day, and is a day of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church.
It is a time when we commemorate and venerate all saints - apostles, martyrs, bishops, doctors, virgins, evangelists, etc.
There are many wonderful pieces, instrumental and vocal to commemorate this day, and there are many dramatic and vivid texts that paint the picture of the "great cloud of witnesses."
This hymn, "O what their joy and their glory must be" is a popular one. The melody comes from "Methode du Plain Chant of 1808, with this adaptation by John B. Dykes (1823-1876), and the text is by Peter Abelard (1079-1142), and translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866). The free accompaniment in this last verse is mostly by T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953), who is was organist of Ely Cathedral and York Minster in England, and of St. Thomas Church in New York City.
Attached is Fra Angelico's painting of the saints in heaven, as well as photos of Dykes,
Neale, and Noble.
(One full verse of introduction.)
O what their joy and their glory must be,
Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see;
Crown for the valiant, to weary ones rest:
God shall be all, and in all ever blest.
Truly Jerusalem name we that shore,
Vision of peace that brings joy evermore;
Wish and fulfillment can severed be ne'er,
Nor the thing prayed for come short of the prayer.
There, where no troubles distraction can bring,
We the sweet anthems of Sion shall sing;
While for thy grace, Lord, their voices of praise
Thy bless-ed people eternally raise.
Now, in the meantime, with hearts raised on high,
We for that country must yearn and must sigh,
Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,
Through our long exile on Babylon's strand.
Low before him with our praises we fall,
Of whom, and in whom, and through whom are all;
Of whom, the Father, and in whom, the Son;
Through whom, the Spirit, with them ever One. Amen.