Monday, November 2, 2009
I frequently hear people refer to Halloween as a wicked or evil celebration. In fact, it is only in the past several centuries that some people have made it so. For most, it is merely a day to dress up in silly costumes and visit the neighbors begging for treats. The smiles I see on the faces of some of my neighbors, old and not so old, when the little ones come trick-or-treating, are priceless. They joyfully dole out sweets as parents silently calculate cavities. Or maybe that's just one of the pleasantries of small town life.
Granted, there are those who like to make this night a "high feast to the devil". All I can say is that there is and always has been sinfulness since the fall of Adam. Halloween, in the Catholic Church, began with trying to convert the various non-Christian peoples. Many had some kind of harvest festival involving the warding off of evil spirits. The church merely moved the Solemnity of All Saints to the following day, allowing the potential converts the practice of their custom on "All Hallows Eve" and then educating them about salvation with the Feast of All Saints the following day.
On All Saints Day, the Catholic Chuch celebrates the entering into eternal life of all those persons who, when on earth, strove to follow Christ. Including "canonized" saints like Francis of Assisi, and others, like perhaps someone you know.
The very next day is the Feast of All Souls, in Mexico, the "Day of the Dead". On this day, we Catholics pray for the souls of all who have died, especially those dear to us. It is said that with God there is no time, so prayers said even after a person's death can influence that dying soul's decision to accept Christ's mercy and attain final salvation.
What a blessed thought. What unfathomable mercy has our God! Praise and Glory to Him!