Post-holiday thoughts on Halloween, All Saints and All Souls


While I have nothing, religiously, against Halloween (we know that we have the opportunity every encounter to evangelize the world), I wonder at the focus we always spend on costuming.  Especially adults.  I mean, it’s one thing, if you’re going to a Halloween Party, to rise to the spirit of the occasion and dress up.  But Thursday, a weekday, I saw Wonder Woman, some form of cat (ears, tail, claws and whiskers), a guy who looked like he’d been hacked to death, and several others.  And I assume people dress as something they want to emulate, or else they don’t really give a thought to what they are doing by dressing in costume.  It’s the same with how we dress.  Today it’s fashionable to wear your team colors (I do it-Go Saints), and so on.  But how many of us wear a shirt with Pope John Paul II emblazoned on it (I have one, lol), or St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Maximillian Kolbe, or St. Faustina?  Isn’t this the way to show the world you’re Catholic?  How many of us wear our crucifix on the outside of our clothing?  I wear a Mother Angelica monstrance, and very often get people commenting, either asking what it is or, recognizing what it is and smiling.

Secondly, All Saints Day was Friday, also First Friday, and a holy day of obligation.  We had a beautiful Mass, with organ and cantors.  It was a nice celebration of the real reason for All Hallows’ Eve.  Meeting the cantors before Mass to appropriate who does what (I usually read the Psalm and chant the Alleluia, but with cantors, they do that), I said that I usually chant the Alleluia, and held an impromptu audition.  The guys who sing at the Shrine on Sundays are professional liturgical singers, and so I sang what I usually sing, and was invited to join the choir.  A far cry from my first audition many years ago when I was so nervous I could scarcely croak the words…  On top of that, our final hymn was “For All the Saints”

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,

Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,

Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;

Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;

Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

For the Apostles’ glorious company,

Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,

Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:

Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word, Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,

Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,

Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,

And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

O blest communion, fellowship divine!

We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,

Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,

And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,

Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,

And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

The golden evening brightens in the west;

Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;

Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;

The saints triumphant rise in bright array;

The King of glory passes on His way.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

 

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,

Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,

And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:

Alleluia, Alleluia!

On the last verse, the organist changed the key, and I was able to actually still hit the high note on the Alleluia! All I can say is, Alleluia!

Finally, Saturday was All Souls, and we don’t normally go to Mass on Saturday, unless it’s the Vigil Mass, and we actually missed it, because the parish changed Saturday Mass to allow people to sleep in. But we were still there for a reason, for someone we know there talked to us outside, and it turns out I might help her husband get a job.

Unfortunately, my team lost on Sunday, oh well.

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