Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Feast Of All Saints

Today, as most Catholics know, is a Holy Day of Obligation, one of the more important ones, the Feast of All Saints.  Many people don't know the origin of this day, though it's been celebrated since pagan times.  It is sometimes called the Feast of Sawein in a far more ancient religion.  But for Catholics, a fairly new religion, this day literally obligates them to perform certain well-honed sacred rituals. 

It requires no belief in "saints" or people of extraordinary faith, i.e. martyrs and the shaman of this world.  The true origins of this day suggest it is more a celebration of God's Church on earth, and all those both known and unknown who died for their belief in that Church.  In the year 610, Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon (the temple of all the gods) to the service of all Christians.  He dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin and to all saints, commanding this feast be celebrated every year in Rome.  Later, in 840, Pope Gregory IV extended it to include the whole Roman Catholic Church and changed the feast day to November 1st. 

Therefore, the most basic ritual performed is the attendance at a Catholic Church and participation in the reenactment of The Last Supper of Jesus.  There is a very explicit rule that no separation exists between belief in God and the participation in the Mass, that to honor God is to honor His Church.  The people who gave their lives for this belief are considered saints, which is the highest state of holiness a human can reach while still on earth.  This is the day we honor their intercession between us and the Almighty.   

Unless one is obligated to the rites and rituals of their religion, they cannot truly be considered a member of that faith.  This used to frustrate many, myself included, as we seek to "custom make" our methods of worshipping whichever god or gods we choose.  The Catholic Church makes no such distinction.  The rituals ARE the belief, and belief in the Holy Church is all.  It can make it disruptive to the soul when one cannot reconcile the two, hence the fluctuations in the amount of Catholics, like a pendulum sometimes flocking to the faith, other times leaving in droves.  The present direction is away from these ancient rites because they don't seem to speak to the populace.  But they were never meant to.  If one thing can describe this day and all days of Obligation, it is the unflinching loyalty to blind faith.  Catholics live by the authority of the Papal See in Rome, and as religions go, though conflicted, it is not that difficult to respect.      

11 comments:

sugarsweet056 said...

Nice entry! On the Praise Journal I made a "tag" entry for this day.
Hugs, Sugar

pharmolo said...

Well written, Cathy. The ancient festival is called Samhainn, where the MH is pronounced as a W.

luddie343 said...

Cathy to Guido:  Thanks mate, thats why I always spelled it as I pronounced it, being a Yank and all lol!  CATHY

bobandkate said...

Hi Cathy,
I did an entry on Samhain lately: http://journals.aol.co.uk/bobandkate/AnAnalysisofLife/entries/1482
Correct me if I am wrong, but is the first of November not also All Soul's Day in the Catholic Calender? Also, about the ritual equating to faith/belief in Catholicism, is it not true also that one of the tenets of catechesis is the emphasis on personal prayer implying a personal and intimate relationship with God over time?
Kate.
http://journals.aol.co.uk/bobandkate/AnAnalysisofLife/

luddie343 said...

Cathy to Kate:  Thanks for the comment.  The "Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed" or All Souls Day, is observed tomorrow, Nov. 2nd.  The concept of a "personal relationship" with God is a very new idea in Catholic dogma and doesn't have its origins in Rome, but rather with Christians themselves.  It's a manner of relating to God still in its infancy.    

treesrgreen7865 said...

Hi Luddie, yes today is All Saints Day.  I have also heard it called All Souls Day.  My patron saint is St. Theresa and today as every day I pray to her for strength.  The Catholic church has it rules and beliefs and I for one will always be a Catholic till I go to eternity.  I do though disagree with many of the teachings of the Catholic church and I belive very sincerely that know matter where you are in this world, whether in a church or in a field of daisies or in a cemetary visiting your loved ones you may talk to God anywhere, anytime.  While I disagree with many teachings, I do very much honour the special days of the Catholic Church.  Your entry was very enlightening as always.  Thank you for being you.

TreesRGreen78 (TreesRGreen7865 while in Oregon)

luddie343 said...

Cathy to Trees:  How nice to hear from you!  Tomorrow, 11/2, is All Souls Day and is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  These are 2 very different feast days in the Catholic faith.  Yes, I've always admired your loyalty to the young St. Therese of Lisieux, the "Little Flower".  :-)

bobandkate said...

Hi Cathy,
Thanks for your reply. But surely personal prayer is not new. What about the tradition of hermits which is a long-standing part of Catholic faith and a valid life choice for religious people? I am thinking of those who opted to spend their lives in prayer and contemplation living in the wilderness in imitation of Jesus who spent forty days and forty nights in the desert, or John the Baptist, the 'voice crying out in the wilderness'? I cannot agree that personal prayer and relationship with God are 'new' parts of Catholicism.
Kate.
http://journals.aol.co.uk/bobandkate/AnAnalysisofLife/

luddie343 said...

Cath to Kate:  Yes, I agree, but this religion, again, is very young, barely a few thousand years old.  The Ecumenical Council adapted it some.  But I think a person alone with his or her thoughts, in any time, communing with their god, is a very ancient thing, it's just that Catholic/Christian worship is to me, so young!  There are relilgios beliefs started over 5,000 yrs ago as you know, which haven't changed much at all.  But I see your point, and thank you for it.  It's diaglogue like this I look for.      

hugsdoodlewacky said...

(((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU))))))))))))))))thank you for sharing this with me.I am not catholic,but my boyfriend is.Have a nice week.

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