Halloween actually marks the beginning of an intense season of prayer for the Church. Sure there may be other traditions that leverage Halloween for havoc, that darkness is quickly swept away by the next day that celebrates the glory of the Church.
The Solemnity of All Saints symbolizes the triumph of the Church, that people, as flawed as ourselves do allow God to work in this world through them and their saintly heroism brings light to the world – think John Paul II who enlightened Communist Europe with vision of a dignified human person made in the image and likeness of God. Think Mother Teresa who saw God in the margins of society. Or Aquinas who magnified the beauty of the liturgy and the beauty of a well structured compendium of knowledge of God’s creation. And of course all the martyrs who died with contentment and impressed those on the outside looking in, curious to learn the source of this happiness. Their openness to being vessels continues into eternity through their intercession in full communion with God.
The next day of prayer is the Commemoration for All Souls. Churches celebrate Requiem Masses, almost reliving the funerals of our departed loved ones and those who have no one to pray for them. With optimistic hope we hope their time in purgatory, preparation to be enjoy the beatific vision of the Lord in Heaven will lead them to join the Saints who we commemorated the day before. It’s a fittingly appropriate day on our calendar to ask for the powerful intercession of the Saints to join in prayer for the dead. Even those of our fellow Christian brethren who don’t believe in purgatory believe strongly in the memory and communion with those departed.
Celebrate this All Hallows Eve solemnly. Enjoy the costumes and the pumpkin carving, but don’t neglect the unity of the Church Militant, Church Suffering, and Church Triumphant within these few days.
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