Happy All Hallows Eve!

This evening and tomorrow, Nov. 1, we celebrate All Saints Day as a holy day of obligation.  The following day, November 2, we honor All Souls!

On All Saints Day we celebrate the saints in heaven, be they canonized saints or the multitude of unknown saints (Rev. 7:9) – hopefully our relatives and loved ones.

We are all called to be saints! Don’t ever think that you can’t be holy or that you could never be a saint, for that is what God made us to be. A saint is anyone who has gone to heaven, who lives in the presence of God. If your journey does not bring you to sainthood, think of the alternative.

At All Saints Day Mass we read my favorite Bible reading: Rev. 7:2-4, 9-14; in it is announced:

“I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal,
one hundred and forty-four thousand marked
from every tribe of the children of Israel.

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.”

Nov. 2, All Souls Day, is the day we pray for the purification of all the dead, those who were good people, but who were not fully prepared to be in the presence of God. This is where purgatory comes in. Purgatory is not something bad; it is a blessing! Purgatory is a state in which we are purified and refined as in fire (Malachi 3:3, Isaiah 48:10, Zech. 13:9, 1 Peter 1:7) — to be made pure so we may enter the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:27).

The secular world of course has tried to take over these holy days by introducing goblins and ghouls. Perhaps we should view the culture’s images of witches, devils, and ghosts as a reminder of what could await us if we do not become saints.

We need to prepare for our death. We can do this by offering up our sufferings as refining experiences. We know we are going to suffer here on earth; we might as well accept the sufferings that are beyond our control and offer them up to the Lord as a means of purification — in that way, we are working out our salvation with the Lord (Phil. 2:12).

My favorite reading continues:

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. 7:2-4, 9-14)

Happy All Hallows Eve!

 Those living in Victoria, Texas, may join St. Mary’s All Hallows’ Eve Family Fun Night Nov. 1  at 7 p.m. following the 6 p.m. Vigil Mass. There will be games for all ages, Holy Costume Contest, Pumpkin Carving Contest, “Living” Hall of Saints, and goodie bags for all. No scary costumes are allowed.