THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
October 29-November 4, 2017
In the early 1900s, the migrating Irish and Scots brought Halloween traditions to the United States… Some researchers claim that the holiday can be traced back about 2,000 years to the Celts of Europe, who occupied parts of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. It was a pagan festival called “Samhain” (pronounced “sow-in”) that celebrated…the honor of the dead and involved the offering of large sacrifices of crops and animals…There is some reference to it in Roman records from when the Romans conquered Celtic lands around AD 43. Under Roman rule, the day of Samhain was influenced by Roman festivals of the time. The first was called “Pomona,” which was a type of harvest festival, and the next was “Feralia,” the Roman day of the dead…
Around AD 600, Pope Boniface IV created All Saints’ Day, and Pope Gregory III later moved this holiday to November 1 in an effort to give a Christian alternative to this pagan celebration. Christians who did not want to celebrate pagan festivals celebrated something of positive spiritual value—in this case honoring the saints and martyrs. With the overwhelming expansion of Christianity in Europe, All Saints Day became the dominant holiday. In fact, the current name of “Halloween” originates from the day before All Saints Day, which was called “All Hallow Evening…”
Many cultures throughout the world have celebrated a “day of the dead”… occurring at the end of summer and fall… In the Americas there is the Mexican Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos) that goes back to the ancient festival of the dead celebrated by Aztecs and the more-ancient Olmec. Answersingenesis.org
We may ask, “Why all the costumes, treats, tricks, etc.?” There are many answers but people believed that ghosts and evil walked the earth on Halloween. It was important to wear masks and costumes so evil would not recognize you. If a ghost came to the door, treats kept the occupants from harm. It was also necessary to appease the gods by giving them treats and gifts. Wearing the likeness of an animal would give one its power. So, there are many reasons for Halloween practices. Christians wore saints’ likeness.
So, as we celebrate this Holy Eve midst all the goblins, ghosts and witches, let us remember our beloved dead who are alive and celebrating life in an entirely different joyful way. On November 2 we can again remember our dead who have gone beyond to continue their journey of life.
Because of the strong issue of the rejection of immigrants and aliens from certain countries by our government, the reading from Exodus 22: 20-26 is apropos. You shall not molest or oppress an alien …or wrong any widow or orphan…for my wrath will flare up and I will kill you… This reference should certainly give us food for thought and appropriate actions.
Matthew 22: 34-40 gives us the two great commandments: Love of God and love of neighbor. What a different world it would be, if we all lived according to these two simple but astounding directives.
On Wednesday we can celebrate the joy of entering into another marvelous dimension of life called Heaven-The Church Triumphant. Here on earth we can recall our patron saint and other men and women who are examples of a life well lived in the love of God and neighbor. This week they are St. Martin de Porres and St. Charles Borromeo.
Jesus says, Whoever loves me will keep my word. John 14:23
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Felician Franciscan Sister