A Blessed Feast of All Saints Day to you and yours!
We have been enjoying our day, since very early this morning which is why our weekly 'Feria Friday
' post has not shown up here. And also because we plan to interrupt that blog series with a special children's sermon for today's great feast, along with a giveaway! Details are below. The next couple of days we will be featuring writings from various antique Catholic books on these great feast days. There are too many to share in just one day! May God send you all many blessings on this day! Anecdotes and Sermonettes for Children's Mass By: Fredrick A Reutur +Imprimatur James Cardinal Gibbons FEAST OF ALL SAINTS Travelers Heavenward Bound
BE GLAD and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven." All the saints whose festival we celebrate today know the truth of these words of our Lord. Who can describe the joys which they feel in that heavenly country? God had wiped all their tears from their eyes; they are free from weeping and sorrow, and all sufferings of this mortal life. Their joy, their happiness lasts forever, so long as God is God. But what must we do in order to be admitted with the saints into heaven? We must overcome the same obstacles and temptations that they met with in their journey to their heavenly home.
I am going to tell you a story which was first told by the old Greeks, about a certain king and his companions, and I want to see if you can find some lessons and warnings in it. This king and his friends traveled over many lands and seas, and met with many dangers. They had left their home sto fight a terrible war in a foreign land. When the war was over they longed to go home again. When they had finally begun their homeward journey they met with other strong enemies and had to fight them. Having conquered them, the companions of the king feasted on the spoils which they had taken. The king, their leader, who was very wise, begged them to go to their ship and sail homeward at once. But they would not listen. Later, while they were feasting, their enemies rushed upon them and wounded some of them very severely. They were now glad enough to escape to their ship. Well, they steered towards home, and after many storms, at last one day they came in sight of a strange land. They went on shore and found the country very beautiful. The sun was always shining, and the natives lived only to eat, drink and sleep. The people of this land lived on the lotus fruit, which made them lazy and careless. The wise leader saw the danger before him; the fruit was very tempting, and if his companions should eat of it they would forget home and friends and duty. Some of them tasted the lotus fruit, and at once they became as sleepy and carefree as the people of the country. Then the leader decided what to do. He had them seized and carried on board their vessel; then every sail was set, and they passed away from the shores of the lotus-easters.
The travelers had other troubles in store for them. They came on day to a wild an rocky shore. The people of this country were fierce giants, called Cyclops. The king and his friends soon found themselves prisoners in the cave of one of the giants who killed and ate a prisoner every day. AT last the travelers managed to blind the giant and escape from the cave to the sea. Joyfully the remainder of the little band got on board their ship and sailed away over the lonely, homeless sea, seeking their native land. AT length they came to the country of the winds, where the king of the winds made them welcome. This king of the winds was very friendly to them, and when they left him to continue their journey he gave them a leather bag, tied with a silver cord, containing all the stormy winds as prisoners. Inly the sweet west wind was left out, that it might carry the travelers home. All went well for nine days. The king trusted no one but himself to the helm. At last they came in sight of home; they saw the green meadows and the waving trees and their homes nestled among them. They were almost safe in the harbor, when the king, tired our from watching, fell asleep. His companions were tempted by curiosity to examine the bag which held the winds. In an evil moment they opened it. Out rushed the angry winds and blew the ship far away from home, out of sight of their native land. Once more they were out on the desolate sea.
Now let us look at the heavenly meaning of the story. The king and the fellow-travelers are ourselves, all mankind. We are sent from our home to a long warfare in a foreign land, that is this world; and we must conquer all our enemies and cross the stormy sea of temptation before we can reach home. All went well with the travelers as long as they remembered their home and their friends. So it is with us, my children. All goes well with us as long as we think of our home in heaven and our friends there - God and the saints and the angels. Our enemies are our sins. If we conquer some sin, we must not sit down at ease, as the travelers did. When we think we are safe, we shall fall. The travelers on their homeward journey met with storms and tempests. You and I, my dear children, have to pass the waves of this troublesome world before we can find our home; and the storms are the troubles and sorrows that will meet us. The land of the lotus-eaters means the land of idleness and sloth, and the fruit of it is forgetfulness. Those who eat it forget their duty, their home and their god.
When I see a child idle in school, careless in church, lazy in work, always thinking of eating and playing, then I know that child has eaten a fatal fruit. You must get away from the land of idleness. Put out to sea - the sea of work and duty.
The travelers fell among the giants. Our bad habits are the giants. The boy who uses bad language is living as a prisoner in a dirty cave with a foul giant. The idle child, the deceitful child, the dishonest child, all are caught in the cave of the giant. But what is the door our of the giant's cave. Repentance. What is the key? Prayer. Use that key now and it will open for you a door of escape. Perhaps we are going on very well for a time, trying to lead good lives and so getting nearer to God and our Home, when some curiosity tempts us to do something which God had forbidden. Curiosity tempted the prodigal son. He was safe at home and loved by his father. He wanted to see more of the world. He wanted to open the bag of world's pleasures, as the travelers longed to open the bag of winds. There are many big girls and boys like him. They think it manly to go away from home. The boy thinks it a fine thing to get into the company of those who swear and tell bad stories. He wants to find out all sorts of things which are not good for him. Like the foolish travelers, he unites the bag, and out rush all the bad passions and temptations and carry him away. And where is he driven to? Far from his Home, to the husks of the swine and the foul rags of sin, and the filthy food of a wicked world.
Oh, my dear boys and girls, don't be curious to find out evil in the world! God will teach you everything which you need to know. Never be curious to look into bad books, or talk about bad things, or go to bad places. Remember what curiosity did for the travelers.
We are all travelers on a journey through life, on which the saints have gone before us, having to overcome the same difficulties. We are going home to Paradise, through many dangers, and difficulties, and temptations. On this journey we must fight, and watch and pray, and, above all, we must have Jesus as our guide. He will give us strength through the Blessed Sacrament to triumph over the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and will enable us to follow Him with pure hearts and minds. Labor, struggle and pray with the saints on earth, that you may triumph with them in heaven.
All Saints Day Book Giveaway!
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We are giving away a total of three books today, 2 copies of Anecdotes and Sermonettes for Children's Mass (the sermon above is from this title) and one copy of Catholic Life; or Feasts Fasts and Devotions of the Ecclesiastical Year.
My favorite time of year is upon us; All Saints, All Souls, Advent, the Immaculate Conception, St. Nicholas' Feast Day, St. Lucy's Feast Day and the Nativity of our Blessed Lord! There is nothing like the feasts of the Holy Catholic Church to brighten the dark nights of fall and winter!
Today is a special day as well, its the blessed night before the celebration of all of those who have achieved their reward in Heaven, its the vigil of All Saints! Today's writings are about Vigils and why the Church keeps them. Please do note that fasting and abstinence rules have changed since the late 1800's, when these lovely books were written. Some more excellent sources for reading for today come from from the writings of Dom Gueranger on the Vigil of All Saints
, A story about The Devil by Hillare Belloc
and of course our latest blog posts on superstitions that tend to show up on the Vigil of All Saints found here
.The Beauties of the Catholic ChurchBy: Rev. F.J. Shadler Copyright 1881
The word vigil
is synonymous with watch.
King David, in his Psalms, exhorts us: "In the night lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord" (Psalm cxxxii. 2). And again, speaking of himself, he says: "O rose at midnight to give praise to thee" (Psalm cxviii. 62). The early Christians literally fulfilled these words. They assembled either on the evening before the feast (on which account the day before a feast is also called the eve) or on the morning of the festival itself, before the dawn of day, in order, by watching, singing of the Psalms, meditation, and prayer, to prepare themselves for the feast. In this they followed the example of the apostles, who, after Christ had ascended into heaven, locked themselves up in a room in Jerusalem, and, by united prayer, prepared themselves for the coming of the Holy Ghost. The vigils are therefore usually fast-days
, in order thus to unite several pious practices, according to the words of Tobias: "Prayer is good when combined with fasting and almsgiving." Even in the times of persecutions these nightly vigils were customary among the Christians. Pliny, a governor in the Roman Empire, reports to Emperor Trajan, only about 70 years A.D., that "the Christians are wont on certain days to come together in the morning before dawn to sing praises to Christ as to a divinity." And Tertullian, whom I have already mentioned, while endeavoring to persuade Christian woman not to enter into marriage with pagan men, says: "What pagan husband would suffer his wife to leave her home to attend the nocturnal worship?" Later, about the thirteenth century, these nightly gatherings not only fell into disuse, but were expressly forbidden by the Church, because of the many abuses which had crept into them. Hence the preceding day of certain feasts is appointed as a day of prayer and fasting preparatory to the festival. The name of vigil, or night-watch, is, however, still retained.Catholic Ceremonies and Explanation f the Ecclesiastical YearFrom the French of the Abbe Durand+ Imprimatur 1896Vigils-
The Christians formerly passed the night preceding a solemn feast in prayer in the church; this holy practice bore the name of vigil, or watch. Several motives recommended it to the piety of the faithful. During the night the Word of God was made flesh; during the night He came into the world; during the night He will come again to judge mankind. Grave abuses led to the suppression of these holy meetings for nocturnal prayer, vigil of feasts. That of Christmas by a privilege easily understood, was alone excepted. But the name vigil was always retained for the day that preceded a feast, and most frequently the primitive fast was preserved.
The vigils of primitive institution, and which for this reason enjoy the privilege of never being omitted, are: Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost. Others have been instituted later for certain feasts of the Blessed Virgin and saints. These are: The Assumption, All Saints, Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the feast of the apostles, and the feast of St. Lawrence. All vigils supposed a fast and abstinence.
Ecclesiastical discipline has varied on this question, yielding to the needs of people and time; in America to-day fast and abstinence are practiced on the vigils of Christmas, Easter, PEntecost, the Assumption and All Saints. All other vigils are observed without fast or abstinence, and they are confined to the office which is assigned to them.
According to the way we keep them the vigils render the feast more solemn. By mortification they make us compassionate the trials of the saints during their earthly pilgrimage; they say to us that to be glorified with them it is necessary to share their suffering, and that penitence is the gate of heaven. (Alcuin, De Parasceve.)TO READ MORE ABOUT THE VIGIL OF ALL SAINTS, ALL SAINTS DAY AND ALL SOULS DAY PLEASE VISIT OUR PAGE DEDICATED TO THESE HOLY DAYS
The Path to Rome -Hillarie Belloc
Well, once there was a Learned Man who had a bargain with the Devil that he should warn the Devil's emissaries of all the good deeds done around him so that they could be upset, and he in turn was to have all those pleasant things of this life which the Devil's allies usually get, to wit a Comfortable Home, Self-Respect, good health, 'enough money for one's rank', and generally what is called 'a happy useful life'--till midnight of All-Hallowe'en in the last year of the nineteenth century.
So this Learned Man did all he was required, and daily would inform the messenger imps of the good being done or prepared in the neighbourhood, and they would upset it; so that the place he lived in from a nice country town became a great Centre of Industry, full of wealth and desirable family mansions and street property, and was called in hell 'Depot B' (Depot A you may guess at). But at last toward the 15th of October 1900, the Learned Man began to shake in his shoes and to dread the judgement; for, you see, he had not the comfortable ignorance of his kind, and was compelled to believe in the Devil willy-nilly, and, as I say, he shook in his shoes.
So he bethought him of a plan to cheat the Devil, and the day before All-Hallowe'en he cut a very small round hole in the floor of his study, just near the fireplace, right through down to the cellar. Then he got a number of things that do great harm (newspapers, legal documents, unpaid bills, and so forth) and made ready for action.
Next morning when the little imps came for orders as usual, after prayers, he took them down into the cellar, and pointing out the hole in the ceiling, he said to them:
'My friends, this little hole is a mystery. It communicates, I believe, with the chapel; but I cannot find the exit. All I know is, that some pious person or angel, or what not, desirous to do good, slips into it every day whatever he thinks may be a cause of evil in the neighbourhood, hoping thus to destroy it' (in proof of which statement he showed them a scattered heap of newspapers on the floor of the cellar beneath the hole). 'And the best thing you can do,' he added, 'is to stay here and take them away as far as they come down and put them back into circulation again. Tut! tut!' he added, picking up a moneylender's threatening letter to a widow, 'it is astonishing how these people interfere with the most sacred rights! Here is a letter actually stolen from the post! Pray see that it is delivered.'
So he left the little imps at work, and fed them from above with all manner of evil-doing things, which they as promptly drew into the cellar, and at intervals flew away with, to put them into circulation again.
That evening, at about half-past eleven, the Devil came to fetch the Learned Man, and found him seated at his fine great desk, writing. The Learned Man got up very affably to receive the Devil, and offered him a chair by the fire, just near the little round hole.
'Pray don't move,' said the Devil; 'I came early on purpose not to disturb you.'
'You are very good,' replied the Learned Man. 'The fact is, I have to finish my report on Lady Grope's Settlement among our Poor in the Bull Ring--it is making some progress. But their condition is heart-breaking, my dear sir; heart-breaking!'
AND THE LEARNED MAN
'I can well believe it,' said the Devil sadly and solemnly, leaning back in his chair, and pressing his hands together like a roof. 'The poor in our great towns, Sir Charles' (for the Learned Man had been made a Baronet), 'the condition, I say, of the--Don't I feel a draught?' he added abruptly. For the Devil can't bear draughts.
'Why,' said the Learned Man, as though ashamed, 'just near your chair thereis a little hole that I have done my best to fill up, but somehow it seemed impossible to fill it... I don't know...'
The Devil hates excuses, and is above all practical, so he just whipped the soul of a lawyer out of his side-pocket, tied a knot in it to stiffen it, and shoved it into the hole.
'There!' said the Devil contentedly; 'if you had taken a piece of rag, or what not, you might yourself... Hulloa!...' He looked down and saw the hole still gaping, and he felt a furious draught coming up again. He wondered a little, and then muttered: 'It's a pity I have on my best things. I never dare crease them, and I have nothing in my pockets to speak of, otherwise I might have brought something bigger.' He felt in his left-hand trouser pocket, and fished out a pedant, crumpled him carefully into a ball, and stuffed him hard into the hole, so that he suffered agonies. Then the Devil watched carefully. The soul of the pedant was at first tugged as if from below, then drawn slowly down, and finally shot off out of sight.
'This is a most extraordinary thing!' said the Devil.
'It is the draught. It is very strong between the joists,' ventured the Learned Man.
'Fiddle-sticks ends!' shouted the Devil. 'It is a trick! But I've never been caught yet, and I never will be.'
He clapped his hands, and a whole host of his followers poured in through the windows with mortgages, Acts of Parliament, legal decisions, declarations of war, charters to universities, patents for medicines, naturalization orders, shares in gold mines, specifications, prospectuses, water companies' reports, publishers' agreements, letters patent, freedoms of cities, and, in a word, all that the Devil controls in the way of hole-stopping rubbish; and the Devil, kneeling on the floor, stuffed them into the hole like a madman. But as fast as he stuffed, the little imps below (who had summoned a number of their kind to their aid also) pulled it through and carted it away. And the Devil, like one possessed, lashed the floor with his tail, and his eyes glared like coals of fire, and the sweat ran down his face, and he breathed hard, and pushed every imaginable thing he had into the hole so swiftly that at last his documents and parchments looked like streaks and flashes. But the loyal little imps, not to be beaten, drew them through into the cellar as fast as machinery, and whirled them to their assistants; and all the poor lost souls who had been pressed into the service were groaning that their one holiday in the year was being filched from them, when, just as the process was going on so fast that it roared like a printing-machine in full blast, the clock in the hall struck twelve.
APPARITION OF ST CHARLES BORROMEO
The Devil suddenly stopped and stood up. 'Out of my house,' said the Learned Man; 'out of my house! I've had enough of you, and I've no time for fiddle-faddle! It's past twelve, and I've won!'
The Devil, though still panting, smiled a diabolical smile, and pulling out his repeater (which he had taken as a perquisite from the body of a member of Parliament), said, 'I suppose you keep Greenwich time?'
'Certainly!' said Sir Charles.
'Well,' said the Devil, 'so much the worse for you to live in Suffolk. You're four minutes fast, so I'll trouble you to come along with me; and I warn you that any words you now say may be used against...'
At this point the Learned Man's patron saint, who thought things had gone far enough, materialized himself and coughed gently. They both looked round, and there was St Charles sitting in the easy chair.
'So far,' murmured the Saint to the Devil suavely, 'so far from being four minutes too early, you are exactly a year too late.' On saying this, the Saint smiled a genial, priestly smile, folded his hands, twiddled his thumbs slowly round and round, and gazed in a fatherly way at the Devil.
'What do you mean?' shouted the Devil.
'What I say,' said St Charles calmly; '1900 is not the last year of the nineteenth century; it is the first year of the twentieth.'
'Oh!' sneered the Devil, 'are you an anti-vaccinationist as well? Now, look here' (and he began counting on his fingers); 'supposing in the year 1 B.C. ...'
'I never argue,' said St Charles.
'Well, all I know is,' answered the Devil with some heat, 'that in this matter as in most others, thank the Lord, I have on my side all the historians and all the scientists, all the universities, all the...'
'And I,' interrupted St Charles, waving his hand like a gentleman (he is a Borromeo), 'I have the Pope!'
At this the Devil gave a great howl, and disappeared in a clap of thunder, and was never seen again till his recent appearance at Brighton.
So the Learned Man was saved; but hardly; for he had to spend five hundred years in Purgatory catechizing such heretics and pagans as got there, and instructing them in the true faith. And with the more muscular he passed a knotty time.
The end of this week brings us the great three days surrounding the Feast of All Saint's Day! Wednesday is the first of those days, called All Hallow's Eve, in the past known as a day of fast and abstinence. All Saint's Day follows on the first, bring a great day of feasting with all the Blessed in Heaven! November 3rd brings us to All Soul's Day where we remember those suffering the flames of Purgatory awaiting their release. It is in honor of this day that we are giving way November's gifts!
A few years ago now, we were given, as a gift, from those lovely people at Mother of Our Savior, the book titled Purgation Manual. My grandfather had passed away and they were so kind to send us this little book. It has been a great comfort over the years and a daily devotion in our family since. We would like to share this wonderful devotion with you! By entering below you have 4 ways to win one of the TEN copies that we are giving away! We pray that you will enjoy this book as much as we have. As always you may purchase your own copy over at Refuge of Sinner's Publishing
, they also just released a couple of other books on the Poor Souls along with many other great titles! Have a most blessed Hallow's Eve, All Saints and All Souls days!
"I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before th throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: and they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God!"
A popular secular celebration is upon us, today's Keeping It Catholic Monday
is about the Catholic Holy Days coming up and the traditions of the Church in regarding what is called now a days Halloween. In edition to the wonderful words of Dom Gueranger is a wonderful blog post Hallowe'en- Pegan or Catholic Celebration
October 31st Vigil of All SaintsThe Liturgical Year Vol.14By: Dom Gueranger Imprimatur 1927
LET us prepare our souls for the graces heaven is about to shower upon the earth in return for its homage. To-morrow the Church will be so overflowing with joy, that she will seem to be already in possession of eternal happiness;but to-day she appears in the garb of penance, confessing that she is still an exile. Let us fast and pray with her; for are not we too pilgrims and strangers in this world, where all things are fleeting and hurry on to death? Year by year, as the great solemnity comes round, it has gathered from among our former companions new saints, who bless our tears and smile upon our songs of hope. Year by year the appointed time draws nearer, when we ourselves, seated at the heavenly banquet, shall receive the homage of those who succeed us, and hold out a helping hand to draw them after us to the home of everlasting happiness. Let us learn, from this very hour, to emancipate our souls; let us keep our hearts free, in the midst of the vain solicitudes and false pleasures of a strange land: the exile has no care but his banishment, no joy but that which gives him a foretaste of his fatherland.Feast of All Saints - November 1
TIME is no more; it is the human race eternally saved that is thus presented in vision to the prophet of Patmos. Our life of struggle and suffering on earth is, then, to have an end. Our long-lost race is to fill up the angelic ranks thinned by Satan's revolt; and, uniting in the gratitude of the redeemed of the Lamb, the faithful spirits will sing with us: 'Thanksgiving, honour, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever!' (Ibid. 12)
And this shall be the end, as the apostle says; (1 Cor. xv. 24) the end of death and suffering; the end of history and of its revolutions, which will then be explained. The old enemy, hurled down with his followers into the abyss, will live on only to witness his own eternal defeat. The Son of man, the Saviour of the world, will have delivered the kingdom of God His Father; and God, the last end of creation and of redemption, will be all in all. (I Cor. xv. 24-28)
Long before the seer of the Apocalypse, Isaias sang: 'I saw the Lord sitting upon the throne high and elevated, and His train filled the temple. And the Seraphim cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of His glory.' (IS. vi. 1-3) The train and fringes of God's vesture are the elect, who are the adornment of the World, the splendour of the Father. For, since the Word has espoused our human nature, that nature is His glory, as He is the glory of God. The bride herself is clothed with the justifications of the saints' and when this glittering robe is perfected, the signal will be give for the end of time. This feast announces the ever-growing nearness of the eternal nuptials; for on it we annually celebrate the progress of the bride's preparation.
Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb! (Apoc. xix. 9) Blessed are we all, who have received in Baptism the nuptial robe of holy charity, which entitles us to a seat at the heavenly banquet! LEt us prepare ourselves for the unspeakable destiny reserved for us by love. To this end are directed all the labours of this life: toils, struggles, sufferings for God's sake, all adorn with priceless jewels the garment of grace, the clothing of the elect. Blessed are they that mourn! (St. Matt. v. 5)
They that have gone before us wept as they turned the furrows and cast in the seed; but now their triumphant joy overflows upon us as an anticipated glory in this valley of tears. Without waiting for the dawn of eternity, the present solemnity gives u s to enter by hope into the land of light, whither our fathers have followed Jesus, the divine forerunner. Do not the thors of suffering lose their sharpness at the sight of the eternal joys into which they are to blossom? Does not the happiness of the dear departed cause a heavenly sweetness to mingle with our sorrow? Let us hearken to the chants of deliverance sung by those for whom we weep; 'little and great,' this is the feast of them all, as it will one day be ours. At this season, when cold and darkness prevail, Nature herself, stripping off her last adornments, seems to be preparing the world for the passage of the human race into the heavenly country. Let us, then, sing with the palmist: 'I have rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. Our feet as yet stand only in thy outer courts; but we see thy building ever going on, O Jerusalem, city of peace, compacted together in concord and love. To thee do the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, praising the name of the Lord; thy vacant seats are being filled up. May all good things be for them that love thee, O Jerusalem; may peace be in thy strength, and abundance in thy towers. For the sake of my brethren and of my neighbours, who are already thy inhabitants, I take pleasure in thee; because of the Lord our God, whose dwelling thou art, I have placed in thee all my desire." (Ps. cxxi)
We are starting back our our Notebooking with the Saints project
. Starting with September the monthly notebooking pages that correspond with the Lives of the Saints For Every Day in the Year
By: Fr. Alban Butler will be available for download. The layout of the pages will change and vary for each month, please feel free to send suggestions that might work best for your children and their ages/grade levels. God bless!
Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family
By: Maria Von Trapp from 1955
With every passing year I realize more deeply how joyful our religion is. The more one penetrates into what it means to be Catholic, the fuller life becomes.
There is one great art that we are taught from our childhood and for which we cannot be grateful enough, and that is how to celebrate feasts. The little ones grow up hearing again and again: "Today is the feast of St. Joseph" "Next week is the feast of the Annunciation.. the feast of St. John... the feast of the Holy Family... the feast of the Assumption." And these are not words only. Soon the children discover that these days have a truly festive character. Later, when they grow up and learn to use their own missals, they find that Holy Mother Church prepares a feast for us almost every day of the year. Naturally, these feast days are not equally important. Two of them, the anniversaries of Our Lord's Resurrection and of the Descent of the Holy Ghost, are of such magnitude and solemnity that the Church assigns a whole week to them. She wants to teach her children to take time for celebrating. What a necessary lesson for us of the fast-living twentieth century, when time has become money and the most important even in people's lives - their wedding - has been reduced from the ten-day celebration of old to a ten minute formality at the Justice of the Peace!
For Easter and Pentecost the Church permits no other feasts to interfere. This is called "a privileged octave of the first order." There are other great feast days, such as Epiphany and Corpus Christi, Christmas, the Ascension, the fast of the Sacred Heart, and the feasts of the Blessed Mother, which also have an octave, and at last a commemoration of that feast is made each day.
If the first place is given to the feasts of Our Lord, the second is given to those of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then come the holy angels, and they are followed by the saints who had a share in the plan of the Incarnation, as St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and the other Apostles, whose feasts are always celebrated with special solemnity.
Then we are told to celebrate as a feast of dedication of churches, the anniversaries of the martyrdom of the saints, the commemoration of holy popes, bishops, teachers of the Church, confessors, virgins and all holy women. According to their importance these feasts will be more or less solemnly celebrated; but even a simple feast day is a feast day.
Once in a while there is a day in the calendar when we do not celebrate a feast. This is called a "ferial day." During most seasons these are few and far between, and it is all the more striking, therefore, to come to the six weeks of Lent and find that the Church has prepared a special mass for every ferial day and wishes her children to refrain from celebrating feasts during these weeks of penance. That makes the great Alleluia, which introduces the feast of the Resurrection, all the more jubilant.
Living through this cycle of festive evens every year, one cannot help but learn that one should not just live one's life, or spend one's life, or go through one's life, but celebrate one's life. Whether the days are filled with bliss or mourning, we have learned to live almost each one as a special feast day. As the Introit of many a Mass bids us: "Guadeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes." ("Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating this festival day.")
If the time from the First Sunday in Advent until Pentecost seems like one long uninterrupted celebration of the greatest mysteries of our faith, the time from Pentecost to the end of the Church Year appears much more sober.
The second half of the Church year is referred to in Austria as "The Green Meadow," because of the green color of the vestments on the Sundays after Pentecost, whereas, until then, they had been violet, red, or white. If the festive character of the first part of the year is comparable to the mountain chains of the Alps or Andes, the single feasts in the months after Pentecost are like isolated peaks towering above the green meadow.
Feasts of the Green Meadow
Two more weeks until the 2011-2012 Holy Simplicity Planner
starts! Get your copy now in time to get the most use out of your home*school*Liturgical Year planner! Plan next years lessons, yearly goals, daily task sheet and more!
Communion of Saints
October 31st on the Catholic calendar is known as the Vigil of All Saint's Day and also called All-Hallows Eve. This is the Eve before the Catholic Holy Day of obligation called All Saint's Day. Prior to the changes in the Church calender in 1955(Pope Pius XII) this day was held as a fast and abstinence day
Dom Gueranger explains how we should hold this vigil: "Let us prepare our souls for the graces heaven is about to shower upon the earth in return for its homage. To-morrow the Church will be so overflowing with joy, that she will seem to be already in the possession of eternal happiness; but to-day she appears in the garb of penance, confessing that she is still an exile. Let us fast and pray with her; for are not we too pilgrims and strangers in this world, where all things are fleeting and hurry on to death? Year by year, as the great solemnity comes round, it has gathered from among our former companions new saints, who bless our tears and smile upon our songs of hope. Year by year the appointed time draws nearer, when we ourselves, seated at the heavenly banquet, shall receive the homage of those who succeed us, and hold out a helping hand to draw them after us to the home of everlasting happiness. Let us learn, from this very hour, to emancipate our souls; let us keep our hearts free, in the midst of the vain solicitudes and false pleasures of a strange land: the exile has no care but his banishment, no joy but that which gives him the foretaste of his fatherland. With these thoughts in mind, let us say with the Church the Collect of the vigil.
Prayer: O Lord our God, multiply thy grace upon us; and grand us in our holy profession to follow the joy of those, whose glorious solemnity we anticipate. Though our Lord."
In America a popular celebration is held on this day that many of us know as Halloween. The name Halloween derives from today's vigil which is called All Hallow's Eve, the following day (All Saint's Day) may also be called Hallowmas (Mass of the Holy/Hallowed) which Halloween also derives it's name from. Many of the traditions held in the secular American world on this day derive from old pagan customs and Celtic celebrations that are not of Catholic origin. Parts of the Halloween as we know it have Catholic traces but they came from the Holy Day of All Saint's Day that is held on November 1st not the vigil of the feast day. One of the American Halloween customs of trick or treating has a Catholic trace in it. The part of going door to door asking for candy comes from the tradition of children going door to door asking for soul cakes. Little cakes that were baked and given away in return the children would say a prayer for the poor souls in purgatory.
"In medieval times, one popular All Souls' Day practice was to make "soul cakes," simple bread desserts with a currant topping. In a custom called "souling," children would go door-to-door begging for the cakes, much like modern trick-or-treaters. For every cake a child collected, he or she would have to say a prayer for the dead relatives of the person who gave the cake. These prayers would help the relatives find their way out of purgatory and into heaven. The children even sang a soul cake song along the lines of the modern "Trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat, give me something good to eat." One version of the song went:A soul cake! A soul cake! Have mercy on all Christian souls, for A soul cake!"" (How Stuff Works- Trick or Treating)The part of dressing up while trick-or-treating comes from the pagan Celtics and has no Catholic ties on the Vigil of All Saints. Making Soul Cakes on All Saint's Day would be a wonderful way to celebrate our Catholic Holy Day (holiday) and keep with Catholic tradition not to mention the wonderful prayers that would be offered up for the Poor Souls in Purgatory in return for these Soul Cakes. What is a soul cake?"Soul cakes, a form of shortbread- and sometimes quite fancy, with currants for eyes - became more important for the beggers than prayers for the dead, it is said. Florence Berger tells in her Cooking for Christ a legend of a zealous cook who vowed she would invent soul cakes to remind them of eternity at every bite. So she cut a hole in the middle and dropped it in hot fat, and lo- a doughnut. Circle that it is, it suggests the never-ending of eternity." -The Year and Our Children By: Mary Reed Newland Impr. 1956 The recipe of Florence Berger's Soul Cakes can be found here.When one comes signing for a Soul Cake (see above) the other may replay "Soul, soul, an appleor two, If you haven't an apple, a pear will do, One for Peter , two for Paul, Three for the Man Who Made us all." (The Year and Our children)It would be a true celebration of the Catholic Holy Days to keep the Vigil of All Saints that one of fasting and prayer. To keep our thoughts on the Holy Day that is to come on November 1st and say prayers for the living and the dead. To spend the Vigil of All Saints contemplating heaven and hell and how to get to one and avoid the other. Then spend the day of All Saints in celebration of those who have attained their eternal glory.There are many wonderful and fully Catholic traditions for celebrating All Saint's Day, such as those the Soul Cakes mentioned above. In addition to that lovley symbol of the Soul Cake many Catholics also take this time of year to dress up as their favorite Saint or maybe even their patron Saint. Fun and holy games are played on this day such as a version of charades that show the wonderful stories of saints lives leaving the audience to guess which saint's story is being told. Many traditional foods are shared at such a party because God has given us a wonderful abundance during the fall harvest. We thanked Him for it not long ago in the September Ember Days. Foods such as pumpkins, corn, apples ect can all be shared and eaten on the Feast of All Saints, giving honor to our Creator who made them for us.The upcoming Monday's during this month will be a continuance of this post, as we continue to share resources, links and history on how to keep Catholic the most holy celebration of All Saints and All Soul's day as well as the vigil of such a great feast.We share from Dom Gueranger's writings on the Vigil of All Saint's once again:"Let us close this month, as we opened it, by homage to Mary, Queen of the holy rosary, and Queen of all the saints. The ancient Dominican missals furnish us with a formula.
In the virginal garden, the young shoots of spring bud forth, and burst into blossom with fruitful abundance.
The frost and the winter have passed away, the snow and the rain are over; and roses spring up on earth from heavenly seed. The rose has produced a lily; during the while time of her exile she gathered the produce of her Son's garden: Joy for the just, and justification for sinners, glory for the elect, salvation for all.
The gifts Christ brought from heaven, and the sufferings he endured on earth, he bestowed upon the world when he overcame the world.He sheltered under the rose tree's foliage, he was wounded by the thors, he was crowned with its flowers; thus does he call us, purify us, reward us.
Because of the leaves and thons and flowers of the rose, we shall enjoy the delights of that rich land, where she, the fair cultivator resides, the empress, who joyfully presides over our militant companies, and over the nine choirs of the trip hierarchy.
Hail! thou, who by a new triumph dost repair the loss we sustained when the enemy triumphed in the first combat. See how gain he threatens fierce revenge; unless thou oppose him, every Christian must perish. Hail, home of the Word, sanctuary of the Holy Ghost, daughter of the most high Father!
In the various perils of this life, bring us unfailing assistance against the darts of the enemy. May lilies intertwined with roses from the garden of heaven, be our crown of victory after the combat. Amen."