Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I wasn't going to write this until next year- but finding several excellent articles on Hallowmas, which eventually became Halloween, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's day; I just had to write a blog posting on it. Since today is November 1st, it is appropriate to lead off with this excellent article from UCatholic on the history of the Solemnity of All Saints- how, during the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian. the number of martyrs exceeded the number of days in the calendar- and so diocese began to celebrate common days to remember their local martyrs. In the Fourth Century, as Christians began to clash with Northern European Druids, a bright evangelist recognized the similarity between the Druid Feast of Summer's End- Samhain- and the Communion of Saints, and so Hallowmas was born. It was another 600 years before the feast of All Saints finally removed the Druid death feasts, a remnant being trick-or-treating, which started with the Hallowmas tradition of groups of mourners going around begging soul cakes. The modern world has a peculiar problem with Catholicism. Few acknowledge that such a thing as “sin” exists. But an occult delight surges in many souls over the frequent aberrations of believers. The denial of sin is what the Communion of Saints is designed to combat- Hallowmas teaches us not only that sin exists- but that forgiveness for sin exists, and that we too (even kids!) can be inspired to lead holy lives regardless of our past sins. The Saints are torches sent by God to illuminate our dark world. How fitting that we celebrate Hallowmas at this time of the year, as the darkness grows and the days grow shorter! We must indeed pray that the Saints should Teach us what they know. Eventually, for some Catholics, even the history got lost and it began to appear that the pagans were co-opting OUR holiday. Even the liturgies of this time, whether the traditional Dies Irae Gregorian Chant or the later "Legimus in ecclesiasticis historiis" sermon are meant to make us one with the Saints- one with the dead- reminding us Tempus Fugit Memento Mori- Time Flies, Remember Death- that this life is short. It is for this reason that Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that the real meaning behind Hallowmas is the mission of the Church- the salvation of souls. Not quite the blog posting I meant to write- and next year, I'll write a better one on my understanding of the Christianization of Pagan rituals. But quite a bit of information none the less.