Catholic Charismatic Church  - There was a time when faith was not found wanting.


All Saints

The origin of the festival  of All Saints began with a desire to celebrate  the countless martyrs of the early church. The practice of honoring the martyrs  started in multiple places, all during the fourth century.  It was celebrated on many different dates until May 11, 609, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome as a Christian Church in honor of the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III built a chapel in St. Peter’s in honor of all the saints,, not just the martyrs. And by the middle of the eighth century, November 1st became the universal date. 

The festival was so important that the Church gave the celebration it’s own special vigil and by the 15th century gave All Saints an eight day celebration (an octave).  Time moves on, however, and we lose touch with an event’s meaning. All Saints being no exception. In the reform of the Church calendar in 1955, the Vigil and the Octave was dropped.
 
Perhaps we need the depth of meaning of the festival back in our lives.  As bad as the conflicts are in today's Jerusalem,  with the conflict between Israel and Hamas, a conflict which has been no worse for Christians with persecutions continuing to this day.  With the downfall of Saddam Hussein and the rise of Islamic extremists and terrorists, especially with what we have witnessed with the group “Islamic State” in Iraq, the number of Christians has dwindled to only about 250,000.  The ancient Chaldean Church has been all but wiped out.  Christians have been killed by the thousands.  Soldiers with the Islamic State have been known to give an ultimatum convert or die.  Hundreds if not more have chosen to die rather than surrender their Christian faith. Maybe All Saints should return to All Martyrs, because we now have thousands more.
 

Celebrating the Saints is fun, and in many of our schools children will dress up as saints as part of a procession at Mass. This year we might look past the fun.We should let All Saints be a challenge. Some have a chance to convert or die and they choose death. We often can’t muster up enough seriousness about our faith to get to Church on Sunday let alone a holy day.

‡AUGUSTINE




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