Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallows Eve & All Saints Day

This morning I researched the true meaning of All Saints Day and Halloween. Ofcourse, like most everything else, it all goes back to the Catholic Church. One of the many reasons I love being catholic is our belief in the Saints. I like to explain it to protestants that just as we ask each other to pray for each other here on earth, we ask the Saints and the Blessed Mother to pray for us. We believe that they are just as present here on earth as all of us. They are walking beside us waiting to be called upon for help. Is that not cool or what? The only difference is they are in Heaven with God our Father! I love it that Halloween is a mockery of evil. Isn't that great? We are saying ha ha can't touch us because we love Jesus! I can't wait to teach that to my children when they are older. That makes me want to dress them extra scary so we can really laugh in Satan's face because we strive for holiness, not evil!

Below you will find the information I found at Enjoy reading the history and becoming more educated about the Catholic Faith! And for those protestants out there, the Catholic Churh loves all religions and we are all in this together.....loving the same God and trying to get to the same place! I am not trying to push the catholic faith on you, but I think it is fun to learn about all religions!

The Feast of All Saints is a holy day of the Church honoring all saints, known and unknown. This is much like the American holidays Veterans Day and Presidents Day, where many people are honored on one day. While we have information about many saints, and we honor them on specific days, there are many unknown or unsung saints, who may have been forgotten, or never been specifically honored. On All Saints Day, we celebrate these saints of the Lord, and ask for their prayers and intercessions. The whole concept of All Saints Day is tied in with the concept of the Communion of Saints. This is the belief that all of God's people, on heaven, earth, and in the state of purification (called Purgatory in the West), are connected in a communion. In other words, Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that the saints of God are just as alive as you and I, and are constantly interceding on our behalf. Remember, our connection with the saints in heaven is one grounded in a tight-knit communion. The saints are not divine, nor omnipresent or omniscient. However, because of our common communion with and through Jesus Christ, our prayers are joined with the heavenly community of Christians. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (AD 350) testifies to this belief:
We mention those who have fallen asleep: first the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition...(Catechetical Lecture 23:9).
The Catholic Catechism concisely describes this communion among believers, by which we are connected to Christ, and thus to one another:
"Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness...They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us...So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."" Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself: We worship Christ as God's Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples (CCC 956, 957)!
There are
thousands of canonized saints, that is those individuals officially recognized by the Church as holy men and women worthy of imitation. Because miracles have been associated with these people, and their lives have been fully examined and found holy by the Church, we can be assured they are prime examples of holiness, and powerful intercessors before God on our behalf. There are also many patron saints, guardians or protectors of different areas and states of life. For instance, St. Vitus is the patron saint against oversleeping, and St. Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of air travelers. It may sound crazy to have a patron saint against oversleeping, but keep in mind the Church has something meaningful for every area of our human lives. All of these saints are celebrated throughout the year, as many have their own feast days (for instance, St. Hilary of Poitiers, whose feast day is celebrated January 13).

The vigil of the Feast (the eve) has grown up in the English speaking countries as a festival in itself, All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. While many consider Halloween pagan (and in many instances the celebrations are for many), as far as the Church is concerned the date is simply the eve of the feast of All Saints. Many customs of Halloween reflect the Christian belief that on the feast's vigils we mock evil, because as Christians, it has no real power over us. However, for some Halloween is used for evil purposes, in which many Christians dabble unknowingly. David Morrison explains the proper relationship between Christians and Halloween. Various customs have developed related to Halloween. In the Middle Ages, poor people in the community begged for "soul cakes," and upon receiving these doughnuts, they would agree to pray for departed souls. This is the root of our modern day "trick-or-treat." The custom of masks and costumes developed to mock evil and perhaps confuse the evil spirits by dressing as one of their own. Some Christians visit cemeteries on Halloween, not to practice evil, but to commemorate departed relatives and friends, with picnics and the last flowers of the year. The day after All Saints day is called All Soul's Day, a day to remember and offer prayers up on behalf of all of the faithful departed. In many cultures it seems the two days share many customs.

Christ Our LordYou suffered and were tempted.You are powerful to come to the aid of those who are assailed by the devil,For you are the support of Christian people.O Lord, protect with Your Right Hand those who trust in Your Name. Deliver them from the Evil One,and grant them everlasting joy. AmenSt. Gregory of Khandzta (759-861)

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