Yesterday, we celebrated All Hallows’ Eve which is the Eve before All Saints Day and All Souls Day. In England, saints or holy people are called “hallowed”. Thus, the name of “All Hallows’ Day”. The evening, or “e’en” before the feast became popularly known as “All Hallows Eve” (now known as Hallowe’en). We prepare for the celebration of All Saints Day on this day. Insofar as what Satan has chosen to do with this important Eve, the preparation for All Saints Day, that is his business. We can give import and publicity to what the father of lies has done to this day, or we can give import to this Eve in preparation for All Saints Day. I choose to do the latter. Satan has a history of turning holy days into an abomination, which is his goal, to insult holiness and turn truth upside down. For example, May 1st has been celebrated as Communist’s Day. However, in our faith, it is Mary’s day, as is the month of May. The Holy Mass Satan celebrates as a black mass, desecrating Our Lord Jesus. I like what Taylor Marshall, a Catholic writer and/or apologist, has said about Halloween in response to the premise that it is evil, to-wit: “There are some Christians who have written off Halloween as some sort of diabolical black mass. To be clear, it is the vigil of a Christian holy day: All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints Eve. Has it been corrupted by our culture and the consumer market? You bet. However, Christmas has also been derailed by the culture. Does that mean that we’re going to hand over Christmas? No way! Same goes for Halloween. The Church does not surrender what rightfully belongs to her – she wins it back.” There is nothing new in what Satan tries to do; we can fall into his trap and emphasize what he has done, or we can observe these holy days. In the past, during All Hallows’ Eve, fasting was required. You see, the three days have religious significance: All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day; they should be considered together in order to understand or achieve the great religious importance of these days. Tomorrow I will discuss All Souls Day, November 2nd.
Happy All Saints Day to everyone!
Then I saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” I heard the number of those w ho had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the Israelites. . “ Rev. 7:2-4
After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.” All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed:
“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My Lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev. 7:9-14.
On All Hallows’ Eve yesterday, during Holy Mass, this was one of the readings during the Liturgy of the Word. I will go on with the remaining quotation from the Book of Revelation which is absolutely beautiful! I can just picture the great Saints as they stand before God:
“For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev. 7:15-17.
Through the “communion of saints,” a doctrine proclaimed in the Apostle’s Creed, the blessed in heaven assist those of us on earth; we pray with the saints so that they may intercede on our behalf before Our Lord. Remember, these incredible, courageous and wonderful individuals see God face to face. Indeed, they are the ultimate role models, heroes and heroines-people who chose to do extraordinary things and behaved always with serving Our Lord as their first priority in their lives, no matter what the cost. They were no different as human beings than we are, with faults, talents, proclivities towards temptation and bearing all qualities incident to human beings. What made them different were their choices, to serve God first above anything and everything. To put it more eloquently were the words of St. Thomas More on the day he was beheaded, wherein he stated, “I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
In the communion of saints, ‘a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home and those of us who are still pilgrims on earth.’ (CCC 1475)
St. Thomas More said this about the saints. “We venerate the saints as God’s servants, as we would on earth welcome the servants of a great man we esteemed. If the goodness we bestow upon our poor brethren is considered by Christ as bestowed upon Himself, as He tells us (Mt 25:40), and if those, as He says, who welcome His apostles and disciples welcome Him (Mt. 10:40), assuredly those who honor the saints are likewise honoring Christ. Our Lord Himself showed that He would have His saints partake in His glory when He promised the apostles that they would be seated at His side on the final Day of Judgment (Mt. 19:28). Moreover, He promised that Martha’s sister Mary (whom More identified as Mary Magdalen) would be honored throughout the world for her deed of anointing Him with ointment (Mt. 26:13).”
As to honoring the saints, and our desire to request their advocacy and intercession on our behalf, as to whether or not the saints can either hear us or help us, St. Thomas More provided, “Yet how can we doubt whether they hear us? Their souls are not dead, and therefore as living souls the love and charity toward their fellowman that characterized them to this world cannot have diminished in the next. The closer one draws to heaven, the greater is his solicitude toward his brethren here on earth, as was the case with the martyr Saint Stephen, who after seeing heaven opened, prayed for his enemies who were stoning him (Acts 7:55-60). In view of this, is it conceivable that Saint Stephen would not pray for those who honor him on earth, now that he is in heaven?” And the question is further posed, how can the saints in heaven help us? More reasoned that since “the saints were certainly able to assist others while on earth where their human nature was as weak as ours, surely they can do so in heaven.”
More further reasoned that even while Our Lord lived on this earth, He permitted people to come to His apostles rather than directly to Himself for help and allowed the Twelve to work miracles in His stead. Indeed, on some occasions the apostles assumed the role of intercessors with Christ, presenting the petitions of others to their Master. “If this was the case when the apostles were with Christ on earth, it must surely be so now that they dwell with Him in heaven. God is pleased to have us honor and call upon His saints, His especial beloved friends, for it becometh us and well behoveth us to make friends of such as he hath in favour.”
Have not you ever asked someone, “Please pray for my mother, she is very ill,” or “Please pray for me; I am about to make a very important decision that will affect my life.” Indeed and in fact, we have set forth these petitions to others on FOTM. Ergo, we pray with the Saints, inhabitants of the Church Triumphant, for their intercession, for their guidance that they receive from Our Lord Himself. If we ask those we know on earth for their advocacy and prayers, all the more reason to ask the Church Triumphant to enter our lives, to give us direction and to ask through them the Grace from God necessary to live our lives according to the Will of God, to the fullest extent, using all of our talents and gifts given to us by God. The Saints are with us; we are foolish not to have camaraderie with them and to enjoy intimate and meaningful relationships.
I end this post by honoring the particular Saints in my life that have influenced and helped me, telling them that I love them, appreciate them and thank them: St. Joan of Arc, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Patrick, St. Veronica, St. Thomas More, St. Therese-the Little Flower, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Monica, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Anthony, St. Benedict, St. Faustina, Blessed John Paul II and St. Katera Tekakwitha.
I end with this poem composed by Sister Mary Raphael, who was a Sister with Mother Mary Angelica, the foundress of EWTN and the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, as she was dying of cancer stated:
What ecstasy awaits my path to You, Lord. I know I’ll find You when time ends for me. Then I will hear your Footsteps drawing near me. You’ll hurry to my arms, embracing me. Oh, all you Angels come to be my escort, arriving at my birth, through life till death. You lead me on, inspiring me with courage and hope that I’ll arrive to meet my Love. To know my destiny, will ever be in His Blessed Company.
This is the prayer of the Saints, those canonized and not canonized who reside in Heaven with the Triune God, as they share the Blessed Company of the Holy, Mighty and Eternal God. Long Live the Saints!
May Our Lord Always Be First Served!
Catechism of the Catholic Church;
James Monti, The King’s Good Servant but God’s First, The Life and Writings of Saint Thomas More (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997).
Sister Mary Raphael is Gone, But Not Forgotten! Daily Catholic 2000, January 18, 2000, volume 11, no. 12.