Friday, November 1, 2019

For All Saints’ Day

     The Catholic Church has established many feast days in the liturgical calendar. Some are very well known; others have been obscured by secularization, practices layered over the persons and events they commemorate, and the passage of time. One of the latter sort is the Saints’ Triduum, which is currently in progress.

     Hallowe’en, originally known as All Hallows Eve, is the first day of the Triduum. On that day it’s traditional to pray for the souls of one’s beloved dead and those soon to join them, that they might know a peace in the afterlife that eclipses what we the living experience under the veil of time. Clearly this is a practice that has fallen from its origins...but there’s no reason not to remember and revive it.

     November 1 is All Saints’ Day, upon which we are exhorted to praise those whose souls have ascended to the glory of Heaven. “The communion of the saints” is explicitly cited in the Nicene Creed, the most compact of all summaries of the Christian faith. That body is believed to have intercessory influence upon the decisions of the Trinity. In other words, an appeal to a saint associated with some burdensome aspect of life might cause him to appeal to God on the petitioner’s behalf. For example, Saint Anthony of Padua is associated with lost things that must be found or recovered. He’s a particular favorite of us old folks, especially when we misplace our keys or reading glasses.

     November 2 is All Souls’ Day. There are those departed who are destined for heaven’s glory but whose souls still bear the taint of venial (i.e., minor) sins. These, too, are saints, but in a sort of probationary status, temporarily immured in Purgatory while their remaining faults are cleansed. On All Souls’ Day we are exhorted to pray for their speedy purification and for their release from Purgatory and ascent into Heaven proper. It’s a particular aspect of this tradition to remember and pray for those beloved ones most recently taken from us. While it’s unclear what effect our prayers will have on their tenure in Purgatory, there’s no such thing as “wasted” prayer.

     And of course, on November 3, when the Triduum is complete, we clean out the remainder of the Hallowe’en candy and promise to get back on our diets. But that’s another and much more poignant story. Anyway, have a little Audio Adrenaline to kick off your morning. The following was the opening music for the unjustly denigrated, quite marvelous movie God’s Not Dead 2:

     I’ll be back later with some of the usual crap.

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