Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Halloween, a teaching opportunity on Christ's victory!

Halloween is right around the corner, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts and some great insight on the 31st of October:

What is the way to go about participating innocently in the childish notions of Halloween without necessarily touching upon the very debased traditions of this night that precedes "All Saints and All Souls"?  It's a real question that we ask ourselves as Catholic parents. We want to be able to use every opportunity to teach our children about the difference between what is good and bad; what is right and wrong.

I cannot say that the following thoughts flow solely from my own reflection but rather from an excellent article I read a while back. This article was sent by a friend who has encouraged us to raise our child "in the world but not of the world".

The truth is that Halloween, within its basic foundation was seen as a moment to remember the truth and grim reality of hell. "Hence all the devil, goblins and references originally were meant to teach others of the horrors and consequences of sin and evil."

"Thus, Halloween can depict a vital element in the re-enactment of [our] salvation history. Although it is not an official holy day...linked to All Saints and All Souls, Halloween imagery presents an integral illustration of the human passage and the consequence of Christ. Without death, there would be no saints in heaven or souls in purgatory. Without Christ, man would have no right to ridicule the devil. (paraphrased from Crisis Magazine article, my emphasis added).

"Halloween offers a comic, cultural expression of the truths that comprise man’s participation in Christ’s Resurrection. Halloween celebrates Christ’s triumph through parody—or exultant mockery—subjecting the symbols of the grave to satirical derision. Witches, devils, ghouls, skeletons, and such spooks become caricatures of an impotent evil...."

"...O death, where is your sting?"

In essence, we can mock hell and all that is evil because Christ has been victorious over these.

But, unfortunately, in today's reality of Halloween, there is so much occult and satanic worship involved that we do have to be wary. We have to take steps to be cautious particularly when it involves children. We must set boundaries and offer alternatives to the overtly commercialized culture of violence, ugliness and what is blatantly occult.

Many schools, neighborhoods and religious communities offer alternatives such as dress up as your favorite story character, or your favorite saint. These are good teaching opportunities as well. This way we are able to help children see the reality of evil without actually "dressing" in it or praising it.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to take Halloween and other pagan festivities and redeem them by using them to teach about the realities of life and faith and of the truth of Christ. Halloween shows us the consequences of dying without Christ. Halloween helps us to stare evil in the face and laugh!

We must pass through death into new life. It is no mere coincidence that Halloween precedes the great feast of All Saints, where we pray for those who have died and have been victorious with Christ in reaching Heaven. And yet, we have another opportunity, the following day to pray for the dead who are in Purgatory. During the feast of All Souls, we become aware of the cleansing reality of God's mercy that helps to wipe away the consequences of sin.

If you would like to read the whole article found in Crisis Magazine, please go here.

May your Halloween be safe and pleasant. May it offer you an opportunity to teach your children of the mysteries of life and death and the great truth that Christ is victorious!

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Monday, October 21, 2019

When all you can do is trust!

Sometimes in life, there are things that come along that take you by surprise. There are surprises from the Lord that leave you humbled and questioning, why me? Why now? But the Lord has His plan and the Lord has His timing. This I know very well. But how do you hold on to the ride you are about to embark on when all you have is TRUST?

Here are three ways you can allow the Lord to do His will in your life and trust that He is in charge!

1. Praise! Praise the Lord in the good and the difficult times. There is no better way to show the Lord your unfailing trust in Him than to just praise Him even when you are scared out of your mind. Praising means to offer up our song and words of gratitude to God just for who He is. God does not need our praises but He does desire them. He desires to know that we trust in Him and are willing to ride out the times in life that are difficult and seem uncertain with a heart full of praise.

2. Prayer. Pray to Him constantly. Yes, taking time out of your day for personal prayer is not only essential but good. Time set aside to pray to the God that has given all to us is what makes us come back to this reality of His undivided love for us. But prayer can take on other forms. Prayer is also wrapped up in our constant dialogue with him throughout our day. Prayer is also offering up the little sacrifices (especially as moms) that we take on at every minute of the day. From doing laundry to washing the 100th dish of the day, you can offer up those tiny sacrifices with love as St. Thérèse of Lisieux reminded us in her "little way"! Prayer is essential but constant prayer is beautiful.

3. Doing your part. God does not want us to just sit back and allow life to happen. He does not ask us to be spectators, He wants us to be participants, disciples. It is only by being proactive and willing to seek out His will, even when it might not fit our plans, that we are able to be co-creators with the One True Creator. Being a co-creator is not just being a parent and having children, it also means creating and doing the things that the Lord asks of us. Doing our part involves using the gifts and talents He has given us to the fullest and always for His glory. Sometimes using those gifts is a bit scary because He asks us to partake in things we feel we are not capable of, but He is in charge. He knows our limits, He knows our capacity and He knows our heart.

What is God asking of you today? Trust in Him and allow Him to work and create with you.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash