Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Life Worthy of the Call

All Saints Day, is a feast which is often commonly overshadowed by its vigil date, which has become known as Halloween. The irony of its inclusion here is that All Saints Day is not celebrated on November 1st in the Eastern Calendar, but on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Still, as the Western Church does celebrate this feast on the first of November, it is appropriate to deal with this subject on this date.

I will first deal with the subject of the name of Halloween. Notwithstanding the Pagan Celtic celebration of Samhain, which All Saints in the West was meant to replace, the name Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Evening or Even. The term Hallows refers to the Holy Ones, which is what the term Saints translates from Latin (Sanctus), which is furthermore a translation of the Greek term (Hagios). The term All Hallows Even (Hallow E'en) then, actually means All Saints Eve, or the Vigil of All Saints. This term is, however, nonexistent in the Eastern Christian Churches. In part, the reason for this is that Vigils in the East are celebrated as the feast itself. Christmas, Easter, All Saints, etc., all begin with vespers of the evening before the date. Hence, the feast of All Saints, in the Byzantine East begins on the vespers of the Saturday evening immediately prior to the Sunday of All Saints.

One of the reasons that All Saints is celebrated the Sunday after Pentecost is because the very reason for that one becomes a saint is the power of the Holy Spirit working in the person. No one ever becomes a saint on their own power. They become a saint on the basis of the power of the Holy Spirit. This is how the saints live a life worthy of the call which they received from God. The Holy Spirit empowers and transforms them in the midst of their cooperation. They are transformed by the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit's action in the life of the believer. The previous article in the blog covers why we honor the Saints. It is in honoring the Saints that we honor the completed work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In honoring ALL Saints, we make certain that we honor the work of God completely.

It is therefore important that we honor all of the saints. As for the celebration of Halloween, it can be a Holy thing if it is celebrated in the context of the saints. It certainly was never meant to be satanic. One who celebrates the satanic elements found in the modern celebration of Halloween is really not celebrating All Hallows Even. They really are commemorating the pagan celebration. How are you planning to celebrate this feast? Will it be a celebration of lives lived worthy of the call of God?

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