It’s Halloween!

…From every nation, race, people, and tongue.
they stood before God…

From Revelation 7:9

My Catholic roots compel me to celebrate Halloween by attending to the trick-or-treaters at my door and to those who have gone to the hereafter before us. Every Halloween in elementary school, we focused on the point of our celebration. We dressed for our class Halloween Party as one of the saints responsible for our annual inordinate intake of sweets. After complying with the good sister’s wishes in school and trick-or-treating afterward, we attended Mass in honor of All Saints on November 1.

I look upon my childhood fervor with a smile. I’m grateful for numerous Halloween memories and for the All Saints Day celebrations which followed. After all, this was the day that we celebrated everyone who had entered into eternal life, not just the saints whom we knew by name. This was the day on which I celebrated my uncle, two grandfathers and my own dad who had passed away. Even today, I acknowledge all of my loved ones in heaven.

As I dole out candy to this year’s trick-or-treaters, I’ll also give thanks for the gift of eternal life to our generous God who ensures that we’ll all enjoy it one day.

Loving God, thank you for welcoming us all to join you one day. In the mean time, take special care of our trick-or-treaters. Keep them safe and give them joy.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Hope-full Halloween!

Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.

Matthew 5:12

When I was in elementary school, the good sisters made it clear that there would be no Halloween without All Saints Day. Sister taught us that Halloween evolved from “The Eve of All Hallows” which is the day before the saints’ holy day. In centuries past, adults in some European countries paraded in costumes on the Eve of All Hallows. They depicted various stages of our lives and our positions in the human hierarchy. This was all to remind us that no one is exempt from death. Today, children dress up as princesses and super-heroes, witches and ghosts with the hope of gathering as much candy as possible. I’m quite certain that none of them will give a thought to their mortality today. Though the children who come to our doors aren’t thinking much about life after this life, they do come with their hope intact. Trick-or-treaters hope more than anything that we’ll drop their favorite treats into their bags.

As for me, I plan to embrace a bit of hope. Between doorbell rings, I’ll consider the hopeful lives of my loved ones who have passed away. I’ll pray to them and request their help in keeping hope alive in my own life. I’ll allow my trick-or-treaters to teach me to look beyond the masks we sometimes wear to the gifts buried deep within those around me. Each one will remind me to hope for the best for and within others. I’ll also look beneath the surface of the tricky situations which trouble me today with absolute hope in God’s ability to turn these troubles into treats of opportunity.

Yes, this Halloween and every day give us reason to hope!

Loving God, thank you for getting us through life’s tricky times by filling us up with the treats of your love and companionship.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Hope-full Halloween

Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.

Matthew 5:12

I suppose it is my Catholic upbringing which compels me to remember that every Halloween signals the Eve of All Saints Day. This isn’t a problem for me. After all, I count many loved ones among those unnamed saints in the hereafter whom we honor on November 1 each year. In centuries past, adults in some European countries donned costumes on the Eve of All Hallows as well. They depicted various stages of life and our positions in the human hierarchy. This was all to remind us that no one is exempt from death. Today, our children’s intent is far less grim when they dress as princesses and super-heroes, witches and ghosts. In the end, they concern themselves only with gathering as much candy as possible.

I admit that I’m quite satisfied with this turn of events as I enjoy greeting the trick-or-treaters who come to our door. Each one arrives with hope intact. Each one hopes that the treat I offer will be a favorite. This is quite admirable considering the array of possibilities that might come their way.

As for me, I’m grateful that the things I hope for are far more certain than candy possibilities. I have no doubt that my people in the hereafter enjoy new life at its awesome best. When I celebrate All Saints Day tomorrow, I’ll celebrate with them wholeheartedly as a result. In the mean time, I hope to treat those around me with my best efforts and to trick no one in the process! I’d like to taste new life as well.

Happy Halloween!

Loving God, thank you allowing our hope to blossom into reality.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Happy Halloween!

After this, I had a vision of a great multitude
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb…

Revelation 7:9

My Catholic roots compel me to celebrate Halloween by attending to the trick-or-treaters at my door and to those who have gone before us. Every Halloween in elementary school, Sister kept us focused on the point of our celebration. She invited us to dress for our class Halloween Party as one of the saints responsible for our annual inordinate intake of sweets. After complying with Sister’s wishes in school and trick-or-treating afterward, we attended Mass in honor of All Saints on November 1.

I look back upon my childhood fervor with a smile. I am grateful for numerous Halloween memories and for the All Saints Day celebration that followed. After all, this was the day that we celebrated everyone who had arrived in heaven, not just those saints whom we knew by name. This was the day on which I celebrated my uncle, two grandfathers and my own dad who had passed away. This was the day on which I acknowledged that these loved ones and so many others were indeed in heaven.

As I dole out candy to this year’s trick-or-treaters, I will give thanks for the gift of eternal life to our generous God who ensures that we all have every chance in the world to enjoy it.

Loving God, thank you for affording each of us the opportunity to join you as a saint one day. In the mean time, take special care of our trick-or-treaters. Keep them safe and give them joy.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Happy Hopeful Halloween!

Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.

Matthew 5:12

When I was in elementary school, the good sisters made it clear that there would be no Halloween without All Saints Day. Halloween evolved from “The Eve of All Hallows” -the day before the saints’ holy day. In centuries past, adults in some European countries paraded in costumes on the Eve of All Hallows. They depicted various stages of our lives and our positions in the human hierarchy. This was all to remind us that no one is exempt from death. Today, children dress up as princesses and super-heroes, witches and ghosts with the hope of gathering as much candy as possible. I’m quite certain that none of them will give a thought to their mortality today.

Though the children who come to our doors aren’t thinking much about life after this life, they do come with their hope intact. Trick-or-treaters hope more than anything that we will drop their favorite treats into their bags. As for me, I plan to engage in some hope of my own. Between doorbell rings, I will consider the hopeful lives of my loved ones who have passed away. I will pray to them and request their help in keeping hope alive in my life. I will allow my trick-or-treaters to teach me to look beyond the masks we sometimes wear to the gifts buried deep within those around me. We must always hope for the best in one another. I will look beneath the surface of the tricky situations which trouble me today, with hope in God’s ability to turn these troubles into treats of opportunity.

Yes, Halloween and every day give us reason to hope!

Loving God, thank you for getting us through life’s tricky times by filling us up with the treats of your love and companionship.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

The Eve of All Hallows

After this, I had a vision of a great multitude
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb…

From Revelation 7:9-14

My Catholic compels me to celebrate Halloween by also attending to the faithful departed. Every Halloween in grade school, Sister kept us focused upon the point of our celebration. She invited us to dress for our class Halloween Party as one of the saints responsible for our annual inordinate intake of sweets. After complying with Sister’s wishes in school and trick-or-treating afterward, we attended Mass in honor of All Saints in November 1. Sister then directed our thoughts toward November 2, All Souls Day, because on this day we could accomplish some serious good.

Back then, we Catholics observed All Souls Day by visiting our parish churches as often as possible. It was said that one soul could be released from purgatory as a result. It this was the case, I had secured the eternal happiness of all of my departed loved ones by the time I was twelve years old!

I look back upon my childhood fervor with a smile, and I am grateful that ones entrance into heaven does not solely depend upon the prayers of those left behind. I am more grateful that we have learned to look upon our journeys from this life to heaven with God’s merciful eyes. If there is any need to atone, God will see to this far more lovingly than we humans can ever imagine.

As I dole out candy to this year’s trick-or-treaters, I will give thanks for God’s merciful presence in our lives. May we never place limits upon what God has declared unlimited -the mercy and the love which God extends to us all.

Merciful God, thank you for affording each of us the opportunity to join you as a saint one day. In the mean time, take special care of the trick-or-treaters who are out and about. Keep them safe and give them joy.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved