The Solemnity of All the Saints (November 1st) and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (November 2nd) are Christian celebrations to remind us of an important article of our faith which is the Communion of Saints. The Communion of Saints is the super-natural unity of all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ namely: The Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering and the Church Militant.
For us Christians, heaven is our goal! We believe that those who had been faithful to Christ until the end are rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven. We call them saints and they comprise the Church Triumphant. They are triumphant because they are given the crown of glory by God in recognition of their holiness. Because of their extraordinary lives they have reached their heavenly home and are proclaimed by the Church as blessed. There are those who are still expiating their sins in purgatory and we call them the Church Suffering. They are being purged of the impurities caused by their sins. Purgatory is an interim state where the souls are being cleansed before they go to heaven. We belong to the Church Militant because we still continue to fight against our sinfulness as we strive to live holy lives.
There is a wonderful exchange of spiritual goods among the members of the Church: the saints in heaven are praying for us here on earth and for the souls in purgatory; we pray for the souls in purgatory as they also pray for us. All of us share in the “treasury of the Church” which are the inexhaustible merits of Christ and the prayers and good works of the saints. This exchange of charity overflows to all the members of the Church so that at the end, free from sin, we are able to have our final communion with God the Father.
The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows' Evening also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve. Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win") which was celebrated on the night of October 31. It was a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween. Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them. (www.halloweenhistory.org)
Because the original Celtic festival has evolved and has been embraced by different cultures around the world, it penetrated our subliminal consciousness. It has become part of our psyche that completely superseded the more important spirit of the Communion of Saints. It is sad that the generation of today, especially our children, has been devoured by Halloween consumerism and its foolish antics which do not mean anything other than to scare people.
From something SACRED our celebrations now are making us SCARED no wonder we embrace a culture of death rather than life, of fear rather than hope, of darkness rather than light…..