Saturday, October 29, 2011

All Saints' Celebration

Halloween is a little different in the monastery than it is in the secular world. Here we see it as the vigil of one of the great feast days in the Church, the beginning of the celebration of All Saints' Day. In the evening we pray the Office of Readings and add the Litany of the Saints. This ceremony starts our rejoicing with our brothers and sisters of all ages who have completed their mission on this earth and have joined the heavenly choirs in eternity. And the celebration continues throughout the day on November 1.

Besides the commemoration of our canonized saints and those who have been declared ‘Blessed’, we look on this as the feast of those hidden ones who have finished their course and quietly slipped into beatitude. They have been faithful or repentant and made their peace with God. Many of them are members of our own families, or the grocer down the street, or the receptionist in the dentist’s office, or the lady at church who always said a prayer for our intention, or the bus driver who had a cheerful word for weary passengers.

In the early days of the church all the Christians were called ‘saints’, meaning, not that they were unusual or outstanding in virtue or devotion, but that they were those whom God had endowed with the gift of Faith in His Son, Jesus. As we go through our ordinary days, doing the little things we do for love of God and neighbor, we too, can think of ourselves as part of that beautiful company of those who love God.

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