I was delighted - having visited an old retired priest I know, had a good chat with him, and made my confession since he's a wise and experienced and consoling confessor - to read in Matins of this feast the hymn Christo profusum sanguinem, especially its last stanza:
Te nunc, Redemptor, quæsumus,Ut Martyrum consortioJungas precantes servulosIn sempiterna sæcula. Amen.(Thee, now, Redeemer, we beseech,That to the consort of MartyrsThou join Thy praying servants leastThroughout sempiternal ages. Amen.)
I was also taken by the lessons at Matins (from II Corinthians v, 1-15) which says so much about our hope in Christ, that our mortality put on immortality, that after our earthly tabernacle be dissolved, we find a heavenly one, that death be swallowed up in life, and so whether we live or die, we seek to please the Lord, for before His dread tribunal we shall all appear, to give an account of all we have done in the flesh, whether it be good, or bad. Therefore, we hope to have a right fear of the Lord, and are persuaded that, since One died for all, all are dead, so to speak, meaning that we who live ought live no longer for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and rose again.
This day we commemorate two more heroes of the Faith, two more champions of the persecuted Church, Pope Fabian - crowned with martyrdom in the persecution of Decius - and that noble soldier Sebastian, invincible even to the arrows shot into him, which he bore unstintingly for the love of Christ, to the confutation of wicked Diocletian.
(Since the surname of my fellow-blogger David Schütz signifies "an archer", perhaps he ought hold St Sebastian the Martyr as a patron saint? As a blogger hosting - or is it being parasitized by? - many commenters, he may sometimes feel like St Sebastian...)
Finally, the Collect caught my attention:
Infirmitatem nostram respice, omnipotens Deus: et, quia pondus propriæ actiones gravat, beatorum Martyrum tuorum Fabiani et Sebastiani intercessio gloriosa nos protegat. Per...(Look upon our infirmity, almighty God: and since we are weighed down by our own acts, may the glorious intercession of Thy blessed Martyrs Fabian and Sebastian protect us. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)
I thank God for His saints, who are such by His grace, for He is pleased by their intercession before His Face, He is pleased to grant their prayers, which He had resolved to grant, whom He had resolved to save, since before the foundation of the world. All glory to Him for ever: God is glorified in His saints. And we make this prayer, and hope for its granting only through our Mediator, Christ Jesus, the Saint of Saints because the Holy One, the Son of God, Who is both Man and God, and alone reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit in perfect Trinity.
Matins were said late to-day, as I've alluded; and in fact only ended in the midst of my efforts at cookery: to-night, I'd resolved, we were to have roast duck, in fact duck à l'orange; what a pity the gravy didn't turn out! The duck was nice, though, with well-crisped potatoes roasted in goose fat and some plain silver beet to accompany it. It's been a hot day, and I've been in the kitchen for hours! At least the bottle of shiraz (a $7 cleanskin bought for cooking) washed everything done - for as is the chef's prerogative, I drank every drop except for the half-glass actually needed for the dish...
Furthermore, there's soup for to-morrow (made of leftover celery plus some leeks) and a quarter of duck too. So we won't starve.