…GETTING DOWN TO THE FACTS….

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IS HALLOWEEN AN EVIL THING…?

If a child dresses up at ANY OTHER TIME OF THE YEAR…be it for a birthday theme party, or a simple day out in the park of fun and imagination NO ONE complains or says “that is evil”… no one denounces their little daughter for dressing up as a fairy princess and playing ‘queen’…nor does someone scream and thump a bible when a young boy dresses up as a “superhero” for a birthday bash or because he pretends for a day he is saving the world…yet on October 31st EVERYONE has an opinion on the “evils” of this particular day

So WHY THIS PARTICULAR DAY is it considered evil???

Well, let’s look at the HISTORY, THE FACTS, and then it is up to YOU to decide…

Some historians trace the origin of Halloween back to the Celtic people of pre-medieval Europe. The Celts of Ireland, Britain, and France divided their year into halves: the “light half,” roughly consisting of the spring and summer months when days are longer and nights are shorter, and the “dark half,” roughly consisting of the autumn and winter months when days are shorter and nights are longer.

Celts celebrated the end of the light half of the year with the festival of “Samhain” (pronounced sah-wen), which they observed during the October/November lunar cycle.

Following the Roman conquest of Britain, British Celts adopted the Julian calendar and fixed the date of Samhain’s observance to November 1.

Costumes and treats were a traditional part of the Celtic celebration. And while Samhain began as a strictly Celtic festival, it is probable that aspects of Roman religion were incorporated into its observance over the four centuries of Roman rule in Britain (43-410 AD).

For example, Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit trees and gardens. Her symbol was an apple. Some scholars believe this may explain how candied apples and bobbing for apples became associated with Halloween..

The Origin of Halloween: From Pagan to Christian:
Other historians trace the origin of Halloween back to the ancient and enduring Christian tradition of celebrating the lives of Christian martyrs on the anniversaries of their deaths.

When Pope Boniface IV reconsecrated the Pantheon in Rome on May 13, 609 AD, renaming it the “Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs,” he established that anniversary as a day of celebratory remembrance for all of the Church’s martyrs.

Pope Gregory III later changed the date of remembrance to November 1 when he dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica to “all saints.” November 1 became All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallow’s Day.

The night before became All Hallow’s Eve (“Halloween” being a colloquial contraction of that phrase). While Halloween began as a localized celebration, Pope Gregory IV extended its observance to all of Christendom in the 9th Century AD.

The Origin of Halloween: From Sacred to Secular, from Secular to Pagan.:
The origin of Halloween as a secular celebration in many parts of the world goes back to Europe’s rich Christian heritage.

European empires conquered most of the world in the centuries following the Age of Exploration, allowing them to export their Christian faith and festivals to the rest of the world.

With the Enlightenment of the 18th Century, secularism took root in Europe and spread to her colonies abroad. Christian holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween were secularized in many parts of the world.

The celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection was supplanted in the popular culture by the Easter bunny. Trick-or-treating eclipsed pious regard for Christian martyrs.

When Christianity spread to parts of Europe, instead of trying to abolish these pagan customs, people tried to introduce ideas which reflected a more Christian world-view. Halloween has since become a confusing mixture of traditions and practices from pagan cultures and Christian tradition.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. During their rule of the Celtic lands, Roman festivals were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. Another festival was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

As the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands, in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs, to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. In 834, Gregory III moved All Saint’s Day from May 13 to Nov. 1 and for Christians, this became an opportunity for remembering before God all the saints who had died and all the dead in the Christian community.

Oct. 31 thus became All Hallows’ Eve (‘hallow’ means ‘saint’).

Sadly, though, many of the customs survived and were blended in with Christianity. Numerous folk customs connected with the pagan observances for the dead have survived to the present.

In 1517, a monk named Martin Luther honored the faithful saints of the past by choosing All Saints Day (November 1) as the day to publicly charge the Church heirarchy with abandoning biblical faith.

This became known as “Reformation Day,” a fitting celebration of the restoration the same biblical faith held by the saints throughout church history.

CONCLUSION:

Knowing the origin of the tradition is important. Knowing God’s word on the subject is more important.

The question of to celebrate or not comes down to personal beliefs and conviction.

Now, some will say “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8 

But I prefer a bit more PRAGMATIC approach…as Saint ‘Padre’ Pio once said “Be glad the devil is like a ‘Lion roaring after your soul’…it means he has not gotten it yet”

Should a Christian celebrate this holiday? Will “The devil get into your soul” if you do?

I believe that ‘The Devil’ cannot come into something unbidden…only if you are weak in faith can he take over what is not rightfully his (or YOUR’S, for that matter)

If you see it as a simple time of frolic and fun, then so be it…but if you see it as something sinister and evil, perhaps you need to consider the world..what is around us..for what I see is more sinister and evil than a child (or ADULT) stepping out ONE NIGHT out of the year in a costume to have fun.

IS this day an “evil celebration of a Pagan festival”? Or is it a “Celebration of Holy Martyrs and Saints”?

Therein lay the crux…it is up to YOU, what YOU see…is your faith strong enough to see it as a simple fun day of child-like frolic? Or do you see it as a target of attack,thumping a bible and screaming at others for their “weakness in faith and promotion of the devil in their lives” and denounce publicly others who would celebrate it..

Think about it…

(By the way: MY OPINION does not matter…for it is just that: MY OPINION..and I will not force MY opinion on ANOTHER PERSON’S CONSCIENCE)

READING OF THE DAY: 31 OCTOBER, 2014

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“On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.

In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.

Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”

But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him.

Then he said to them, “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”

But they were unable to answer his question.” -Luke 14:1-6.

READING OF THE DAY: 30 OCTOBER, 2014

Jesus teaching at the Temple

“Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”

He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.

Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!

Behold, your house will be abandoned. (But) I tell you, you will not see me until (the time comes when) you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” -Luke 13:31-35.

COMMENTARY ON THE READING OF THE DAY PROVIDED BY:

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Julian of Norwich (1342-after 1416), recluse
Revelations of divine love, ch. 39

“Reclining at table in the kingdom of God”

[When sinners acknowledge their sin], divine grace causes such great contrition, compassion and true longing for God that the sinner, suddenly delivered from sin and from pain, is raised up…

By contrition we are made clean, by compassion we are made ready, and by true longing for God we are made worthy.

These are three means, as I understand, through which all souls come to heaven, those, that is to say, who have been sinners on earth and will be saved.

For every sinful soul must be healed by these medicines.

Though he be healed, his wounds are not seen by God as wounds but as honors.

And as we are punished here with sorrow and penance, in contrary fashion we shall be rewarded in heaven by the courteous love of our almighty God…

For he regards sin as sorrow and pains for his lovers, to whom for love he assigns no blame.

The reward which we shall receive will not be small, but it will be great, glorious and honourable.

And so all shame will be turned into honor and joy.

For our courteous Lord does not want his servants to despair because they fall often and grievously; for our falling does not hinder him in loving us…

He wants us so to take heed that he is the foundation of our whole life in love, and furthermore that he is our everlasting protector, and mightily defends us against all our enemies, who are very cruel and very fierce towards us, and so our need is great, the more so because by our falling we give them occasion.

(SOURCE: Classics of Western spirituality, 1978)

READING OF THE DAY: 29 OCTOBER, 2014

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“Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”

He answered them, Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.

After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’

He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’

Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where (you) are from.

Depart from me, all you evildoers!’

And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.

And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.

For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” -Luke 13:22-30.

READING OF THE DAY: 28 OCTOBER, 2014

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“Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.

When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles:Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.

A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.

Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.” -Luke 6:12-19.

READING OF THE DAY: 27 OCTOBER, 2014

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“He was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.

And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.

When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”

He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”

The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?

This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”

When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.” -Luke 13:10-17.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 OCTOBER, 2014

Saints Simon and Jude

Apostles and Martyrs
(† First Century)

The Apostle, Saint Simon

Simon was a simple Galilean, abrother of Jesus, as the ancients called one’s close relatives — aunts, uncles, first cousins; he was one of the Saviour’s four first cousins, with James the Less, Jude and Joseph, all sons of Mary, the wife of Alpheus, or Cleophas, either name being a derivative of the AramaicChalphai.

The latter was the brother of Saint Joseph, according to tradition. All the sons of this family were raised at Nazareth near the Holy Family. (See the Gospel of Saint Matthew 13:53-58.)

Simon, Jude and James were called by Our Lord to be Apostles, pillars of His Church, and Joseph the Just was His loyal disciple.

Saint Simon the Zealot or the Zealous, was the name this Apostle bore among the twelve. He preached in Egypt, Mauritania (Spain), and Lybia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the healthful cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens.

He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they labored and died together. At first they were respected by the king, for they had manifested power over two ferocious tigers who had terrorized the land.

With the king, sixty thousand Persians became Christians, and churches rose over the ruins of the idolatrous temples.

The Apostle, Saint Jude

But the ancient enemy, who never sleeps, rose up, and when the two went elsewhere the pagans commanded them to sacrifice to the sun. Both Apostles, just before that time, had seen Our Lord amid His Angels.

Simon said to Jude, One of the Angels said to me, I will take you out of the temple and bring the building down upon their heads. I answered him,Let it not be so; perhaps some of them will be converted.

They prayed for mercy for the people and offered their lives to God.

Saint Simon told the crowd that their gods were only demons, and ordered them to come out of the statues, which they did, revealing themselves under hideous forms.

But the idolaters fell on the Apostles and massacred them, while they blessed God and prayed for their murderers.

Saint Jude has left us a short but powerful epistle, written after the death of his brother James, bishop of Jerusalem, and addressed to the new Christians being tempted by false brethren and heretics.

(SOURCE: Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).)

READING OF THE DAY: 26 OCTOBER, 2014

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“When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment.

The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”” -Matthew 22:34-40.

SAINT OF THE DAY (PART II) : 24 OCTOBER, 2014

Saint Raphael the Archangel

Saint Raphael the Archangel

This holy Archangel identified himself to the exiled Jew Tobias as one of the Seven who stand before God (Tob. 12:15).

His name means the healing of God, and he is thought to be the Angel who came down and agitated the water of the pool of Bethsaida in Jerusalem.

The sick, who always lay around the pool, strove to be the first to enter the water afterwards, because that fortunate one was always cured.

We read of this in the story of the paralytic cured by Jesus, who had waited patiently for thirty-eight years, unable to move when the occasion presented itself.(Cf. John 5:1-9)

Saint Raphael is best known through the beautiful history of the two Tobias, father and son, exiled to Persia in the days of the Assyrian conquest in the eighth century before Christ. In their story, the Archangel plays the major role.

The father Tobias was a faithful son of Jacob and was old and worn out by his manifold good works; for many years he had assisted his fellow exiles in every possible way, even burying the slain of Israel during a persecution by Sennacherib, and continuing this practice despite the wrath that king manifested towards him.

Having been stripped of all his possessions, he desired to have his son recover a substantial sum of money he had once lent to a member of his family in a distant city. He needed a companion for the young Tobias.

God provided that guide in the Archangel Raphael, whom the son met providentially one day, in the person of a stranger from the very area where he was to go, in the country of the Medes. Raphael to all appearances was a young man like himself, who said his name was Azarias(Assistance of God).

Everything went well, as proposed; the young Tobias recovered the sum and then was married, during their stay in Media, to the virtuous daughter of another relative, whom Providence had reserved for him.

All aspects of this journey had been thorny with difficulties, but the wise guide had found a way to overcome all of them.

When a huge fish threatened to devour Tobias, camped on the shores of the Tigris, the guide told him how to remove it from the water, and the fish expired at his feet; then remedies and provisions were derived from this creature by the directives of Azarias.

When the Angel led Tobias for lodging in the city of Rages, to the house of his kinsman Raguel, father of the beautiful Sara, the young man learned that seven proposed husbands had died on the very day of the planned marriage.

How would Tobias fare?

The Angel reassured him that this would not be his own fate, and told him to pray with his future spouse for three nights, that they might be blessed with a holy posterity.

Sara was an only daughter, as Tobias was an only son, and she was endowed with a large heritage.

During the absence of the young Tobias, his father had become blind when the droppings of a pigeon had fallen into his eyes.

When the two travelers returned after an extended absence, which had cost his mother many tears, the young Tobias was deeply grieved to find his father unable to see him and his new daughter-in-law.

But Raphael told the son how to cure his father’s blindness by means of the gall of the fish; and after the remedy had proved efficacious, all of them rejoiced time in their blessings.

When Tobias the son narrated his story and told his father that all their benefits had come to them through this stranger, both father and son wished to give Azarias half of the inheritance.

Raphael declined and revealed his identity, saying he was sent to assist the family of the man who had never failed to obey and honor the blessed God of Israel.

Raphael, before he disappeared, said to the family: It is honorable to reveal and confess the works of God. Prayer is good, with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures, for alms deliver from death and purge away sins, and cause the giver to find mercy and life everlasting… When thou didst pray with tears and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner to hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that trials prove thee… I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.

(SOURCE: The Holy Bible: Old and New Testaments)