From this field those two famous shoots of the divine seed burst forth into a great progeny, witnessed by thousands of blessed martyrs. To emulate the apostlesí triumph, these martyrs have adorned our city far and wide with people clothed in purple and shining brilliantly, and they have crowned it with a diadem fashioned by the glory of many precious stones.
On the commemoration of all the saints it is right for us to rejoice in this heavenly band, fashioned by God as models of patience and a support for our faith; but we must glory and exult even more in the eminence of these two forebears, whom the grace of God raised to so high a summit among all the members of the Church, and established like two eyes that bring light to the body whose head is Christ.
As to their merits and virtues, which no words can describe, we should not think of any difference or distinction between them; their calling was the same, their labours were similar, theirs was a common death.
Our experience has shown, as our predecessors have proved, that we may believe and hope that in all the labours of the present life, by the mercy of God, we shall always be helped by the prayers of our special patrons. Just as we are humbled by our own sins, so we shall be raised up by the merits of these apostles.
In life the holy apostles served Christ with a generous spirit, and the founded the Church upon the witness of their blood. - They drank the blood of their Lord and were made the friends of God. Just as love united them in this life, so death could not separate them. Just as love united them in this life, so death could not separate them.
Defend your Church, O Lord,
by the protection of the holy Apostles,
that, as she received from them
the beginnings of her knowledge of things divine,
so through them she may receive,
even to the end of the world,
an increase in heavenly grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours © 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.