To be read: February 17, June 18, October 20
On the feasts of the saints and on all solemn festivals, Vigils is to be performed as it would be done on Sunday, 2except that the psalms, the antiphons, and the lessons proper for that day be said. The number of psalms above mentioned must be maintained.
As has been noted before, every Sunday is a feast day of the Resurrection of our Lord. Every saint’s day is a celebration of Christ, for the saints are a manifestation of Christ’s Presence at work in His Body. And so, “On the feasts of the saints and on all solemn festivals, Vigils is to be performed as it would be done on Sunday…” Every saint’s day and solemn festival is a day to be celebrated in resurrection joy.
But which saints? There are saints who are included in the Roman calendar that are not on an Anglican calendar. And there are Eastern saints who are not recognized in the West, and Western saints not venerated in the East. And there are the big “S” saints, and the little “s” saints (i.e. Biblical saints vs. latter ones); there are major feasts and lesser feasts. Is it essential that we recognize all of the days designated as saints’ days? St. Paul said, “One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind.He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord” (Romans 14:5-6). For us, the primary focus must always be the celebration of the Lord. We are to “prefer nothing whatever to Christ” (RB 4:21; 72:11).
At the request of Bishop Jones, I compiled a simplified form for observing the Liturgy of the Hours. In order to keep it simple, I did not include special services or liturgical readings for the saints’ days. In my spiritual devotions, I maintain the observance of the Hours each day using this simplified form, but in the evening, in prayer time with my wife, we recognize and celebrate the major saints days and solemn festivals in our devotions. I also recognize the lesser saints’ days in our Eucharistic celebrations in the parish’s weekday services. As St. Paul said, “Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind.” If the observance of the celebration of the lives of the saints is edifying for you, and you do it “in honor of the Lord”, then by all means rejoice and celebrate those days. If in your spiritual discipline it is distracting or troubling to follow the calendar of saints’ days, there is no harm in “esteeming all days alike”. Regardless of which you choose, “prefer nothing whatever to Christ.”