Halloween, All Hallows’, is coming and, being Christian, we are preparing to pray and party.
This is a day in the West of the World where we face common fears and cross ourselves and have a laugh. I have visited many holy places where the dead, skulls, bones, and the incorrupt, are there to see. The first time I saw such things, I thought: “Yikes! What is this?” My guide, very wise, said something like this: “They were here in life and now they are with us in death. The good pray for us, the dead gibber their excuses, the bodies? They are here to remind us.”
Those men I have known who have seen demonic evil: prison and concentration camps in Nazi Germany, atheist gulags in China or the Soviet Union, have not been light about evil. They also do not fear evil. When you have been sent to shovel human excrement by men with endless, ugly, hatred of saints, angels, and God, then you lose fear. They never lost their memory of pain and pity for the victims, both prisoners and guards, but perfect love had cast out all fear.
If you find a religious person who is afraid, who sees demons behind every jack-o-lantern, even if carved by a puckish grandchild, then you will see a man more susceptible to demons, than the trick-or-treater.
Evil be to he who thinks evil of trick-or-treat. Honor our righteous dead, pray for deliverance from evil, and then party as children kept safe by the Almighty. All is well and all will be well as Omnipotence makes every broken thing whole one the course of eternity. Nothing can frighten absolute love.Why?
The Beloved is so good, true, and beautiful that He casts out all fear.
Much of what becomes evil to us or bad for us is not because of the nature of thing or event itself, but our intent. There are actions that are always evil, burning a stand of sequoia for fun, but most of the things we do are not this way. Most of life is good, if we would make it so. As one professor put it for most of our actions: “Intent is the content of morality.”
Few things are so base they cannot be good, there are generally ten.
Few things are so good they cannot be base, there are seven such virtues.
They are already damned.
They are real, but will, over the long work of God over time, be defeated.
If they love us, they can pray for us. If they hate us, they cannot harm us. We pray for them and we ask for their prayers: in God’s economy no soul is forever gone.
No denying that evil twists, turns, torments any jollification to make that good vile. A good luck symbol becomes a the Nazi swastika in diabolical hands. Purity becomes purity culture in priggish minds.
All Hallows’ is a recognition that death is sad: a severe mercy. When we were broken by the bad choices of our ancestors, we could not retain immortality. Nobody wise would wish to be immortal as we are: boredom without end, Amen. Death moves us from this life where we are broken to the possibility of the world to come where we are whole.
All Hallows’ is the day to recall not choosing damnation, but paradise. We pray for our dead, our own souls, and then we rejoice. The party is an image of the wedding feast to come. We wear costumes either to mock our usual “false fronts” or to memorialize our deepest wishes. “Hidden” in the costume, we are known but unknown.
This makes us the very image of God: Known, but Unknown.
We can’t wait at Saint Anne’s: prayers and then a party. That’s human history summarized.