For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
I am not sure why I never noticed how militant this hymn is, especially verses 7-10. I guess it is because we never sing that many verses in America. The words were written by Anglican Bishop William Walsham How in 1864:
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
When How released his work to the Church of England, I wonder how the English Catholics who had been singing the words of Father Frederick Faber already for 20 years thought about the irony:
Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
England shall then indeed be free.
Catholic Emancipation and the Oxford Movement had led to many conversions, like that of Father Faber, and a spirit of Catholic militancy was in the air, perhaps the Anglicans wished to share in it. It is a gift of the Blessed Mother for which we should all pray.
Virtually anything that can be said of the Church can be said of the Blessed Virgin. England is Our Lady’s Dowry. I pray that the Church of England finds its way.
All the Holy Martyrs of the England, pray for us.