The next 3 days is a kind of a trilogy for the Church–the Church Militant (those on earth fighting the good fight), the Church Triumphant (those now in Heaven who already emerged victorious) and the Church Suffering (those who died and are undergoing final purification and wait to enter Heaven). The 3 days are All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints day and All Souls day.
It first struck me, this idea of looking at these 3 days as a holy trilogy, when i heard Fr. Francis from EWTN mention it.
In this post, I’d like to look at All Hallow’s Eve aka Hallowe’en as the Church Militant day.
It’s often overlooked or forgotten that Halloween is derived from All Hallow’s Eve. The eve or vigil of All Saint’s Day!
Some brief history—
The ancient pagan Celts (think British Isles) had a celebration of their “lord of death” called Samhain on Nov. 1. The pagan Romans who conquered some of those lands added to that festival and called it Pomona in honor of their orchard goddess.
Subsequently Christianity defeats paganism and rises victorious over persecution. In 835 Pope Gregory IV moves the holy feastday commemorating the martyrs (All Saints) from May 13 to Nov. 1. Thus, the pagan festival and it’s memory is supplanted and overthrown. As solemn feastdays begin the evening before (vigil), it came to be known as All Hallows Even or holy evening.
As Christians (Church Militant) we need to reclaim this as a celebration of the Light—the same Light Who definitively conquered the darkness, Who illuminated the lives of men, women and children to such a degree that they now bear St. before their names!
The Saints in Heaven inspire us to be transformed by God’s grace as they were, to be holy—vigilant warriors equipped with the love of God.
Need a costume?
11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. 13 Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:
16 In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. 17 And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit…
Let the gates of hell shudder.