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Spiritual matters

Remember All Saints Day with Halloween

October 26, 2011 - It's the time of year again when the trees explode in color before our very eyes, like a display of fireworks.

Nature seems to leave the best for last before the solemn days of winter come.

The change in seasons is something so dramatic that throughout the centuries man has felt the need to mark these changes with various traditions.

The change from autumn to winter is no different. In a few days the night air will be filled with the words "trick or treat" and the sidewalks invaded by goblins and witches and a variety of creative costumes.

It's time for Halloween.

There are many explanations about the origin of Halloween, but there's no mistaking that our current celebration focuses our attention on spirits and ghosts and on things we believe in but don't normally see.

I've often been asked how a Christian should celebrate Halloween or even if they should celebrate it at all. I wouldn't presume to offer a perfect answer, but maybe a few thoughts will help.

There is more than one side to the celebration of Halloween so much of what you get out of it depends on your perspective.

How about en example? Anyone who has ever done any type of sketch or drawing will know that you only get a full appreciation of an object when you look at it from different angles.

A door knob, for instance, looks different whether you look at it from the front or from the side.

Well, I would say that the best way to get the full perspective on Halloween is to observe also the day that follows it.

Halloween gets its name because it's All Hallows Eve, that is, the evening before All Saints Day.

There is something mysterious about the world of ghosts and skeletons and all of us are drawn into the mystery.

Skeletons attract our attention not because of the bones, but because we imagine that once before those bones belonged to a person.

Where that person went is what causes us amazement and even fear. Ghosts and spirits attract our attention because we imagine that they used to inhabit a body.

Why they are not united with their body is what enchants us. All Saints day gives us the answers.

On All Saints Day we look forward to the day when those bones will be united happily with their rightful owner for all eternity in heaven.

On All Saints Day we look forward to the day when that wandering spirit finds true peace and receives his body back forever in paradise.

All Saints Day is the fitting complement to Halloween. Halloween is a reminder of our limits; All Saints Day is a reminder that, for those who love God, life has no limits.

So, by all means have a Happy Halloween… but only if you also have a Happy Day of All Saints.

Fr. Daniel Pajerski, LC, is Formation Director for Everest Academy.

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