Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Liturgical Lifestyle: Hallowmas

We had a good Hallowmas.  On Thursday, we feasted and went in disguise in the dark, meeting other strange but friendly folk along the way.  We knocked on doors, said magic words, and were greeted with warm smiles (as well as pumpkin grins) and plenty of sweets.  We visited with dear ones, then came home late to set up an altar for the dead--not to worship or fear, but to pray for and offer penance--with a carved pumpkin to light and welcome them, much as they had for us earlier that night; food and drink to show hospitality; and the saints to guide them home.  We lit the candle for our icons and slept safe and sound, and God let pass over us all the evil things, as we knew He would.

Oh, what did we disguise ourselves as, you ask?  I'm glad you did!

Pointy hat not pictured.
Yes, yes.  Get it out of your system.

Seriously, though?  It never gets old.
Very appropriate for the Harry Potter book club, especially Jenna's introductory post this week.

Anyway, to get the full effect of our night out and about, see the group pics:

Despite the late night, we rose again early next morning for Mass and the Feast of All Saints.  I just love this holy day.  It's only fitting that it surpass the night of old danger--the jovial mockery of mortality and the reverence for death preceding resurrection, followed by their joyful glory!  I got to finish the night off with a young friend of mine at a Michael Buble concert, so there is that.

The following Sunday, our parish youth group held a little saints' festival, with a procession, a pot-luck, saints' booths, and some games.

Can you guess which saint is which?
I sneaked in and drew Little Nellie when no one was looking because she is my son's favorite saint.  (And by favorite, I mean, she's my favorite, and am always talking to him about her.)  At the end, the older kids were admiring it and asking who drew it.  But I said nothing, and no one thought to ask me.  I sort of hope they think she came down and did it herself.  Child saints are mischievous like that!

All Souls' Day dawned wet and dreary.  We heard Mass said and prayed for the dead.  I intended to visit the cemetery but the night drew on early, and time sped away.  Later, I discovered that there are many plenary indulgences available for the souls in Purgatory during this week.  (Also see the Today section of any day between November 1st and 8th at CatholicCulture.org, at the very bottom, to get detailed information on the plenary indulgences.)  So, we've got to find our way out there before All Souls' Week ends.  We wrote the names of loved ones passed (and the passed of our loved ones) on the envelope to lie before the tabernacle all month and baked a soul cake to welcome ghosts.  But we mostly just ate it ourselves!

I didn't get to unravel my profuse and tangled thoughts on Catholic Hallowe'en . . . it may still be forthcoming, especially since it has so much to do with wonder, holy superstition, and the world of Faerie working in the Christian cosmos.  So we're rapping up Halloween Week a little bit late here on Everything to Someone, but as November is the month of the Holy Souls, it seems fitting that the macabre themes of All Hallows' Eve should follow into the last month of autumn.  November is, after all, a bare month, distilled and pensive.

The stripped and shapely
Maple grieves
The loss of her
Departed leaves. 
The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
The birds are flown. 
And yet the world,
Displays a certain
The beauty of
The bone.  Tall God
Must see our souls
This way, and nod. 
(From the poem "November" by John Updike)

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