All Saints & the Masks of God

All Saints & the Masks of God November 1, 2021




Out near where my mother in law lives there’s a church called “All Saint’s Lutheran.” They also sport a directional sign for parking. It reads “This way for All Saints.” And appended under that, someone thoughtfully added, “And sinners, too…”

It never fails to make me smile.


Today is the feast of all saints. It the Western tradition it follows All Hallows eve and precedes the feast for All Souls. Like shadow and dawn.

I think of each of these moments, and the various categories they represent. And I think of that term “masks of God.” The phrase, “masks of God,” was, best I can tell, coined by the comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell.

For Campbell “God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought, even the categories of being and nonbeing.” For me God becomes a hole in the language, into which we place all our treasured hopes and most profound fears. It is the holy ground on which we stand, and the mystery from which we take our being, and to which, in the end, we return.

That phrase “masks of God,” however, reminds us, what it is that joins us together, what in the last moment, is the truth of our being, what is revealed when the mask slips, what we find, when the time comes to take the costume off. To stop being a ghost or a saint or a soul.

What then?

Well, what I’ve found is how it shows that we are connected. Intimate. Intimate.

I find how even our personal dreams inform each other’s dreams. And, in fact, our dreams help to weave each other’s lives.

So. Masks or not. Intimate. Intimate.

And a revealing of who we really are. Each of us. And each thing. The whole mess. The ghosts. The saints. The souls. And the sinners.

All of us.

The masks of God.

(The image of masks I found available at Etsy. Check them out!)

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