When you go out Trick-or-Treating each year, it’s good to think about why there is a Halloween. It’s the “Eve of All Hallowes,” the vigil of All Saint’s Day. (You know, the feast the Catholic Church created to honor all the saints)
There is a great battle on this earth of ours that has been fought through all the ages. Between good and evil, life and death, light and darkness…the enemy is a fierce foe, but our God gives each one of us the power to be victorious. When Jesus died on the cross, the gates of the great kingdom of heaven were opened for our safe refuge… and the power of death, darkness and evil were destroyed. The only weapon left to our enemy is lies. When we fill our hearts with truth, selflessness and Jesus’ love, no enemy can really harm us. This is what the Saints know. They lived it in their lives on earth. They live it even more fully now in heaven. Halloween is a time to remember the great battle… and who the heroes are!
We Catholics can think about and even joke about death at Halloween because we know death has no power. We have nothing to fear. It is not the end, but just a stop on the journey to the best of life.We put a flame inside a pumpkin not to just look spooky or cute….it’s a reminder that God scoops all of the yuck out from inside of us. He carves and shapes our character so the light of His Holy Spirit can shine through us!
And when that Spirit shines bright within us, we can become saints too. God’s superheroes! For if we love Jesus with all we are, we will join him as a saint in Heaven with not just one super power…but a whole bunch of them! When Jesus returns to renew the face of the earth, if we are saints, we will be given glorified bodies with the power of flight, super sight, super hearing, super strength and much much more!
So, be a hero for Halloween, any hero… and remember there’s no more powerful hero than a saint! And if you feel you must be a villan…then pretend to be in disguise to break into enemy ranks and find ways to defeat them!
Something else to consider on Halloween. It may sound gross, but sometimes Catholics dig up dead bodies. Why? To check on very holy people who have died, and see how they are doing. Often the bodies of people who were “holy” and considered saints during their life do not decompose after death. God told us in the Bible in the book of Psalms, “My Holy One will not see decay.” It was foretelling of Jesus and His Resurrection, but many of the saints demonstrate this miracle too. These holy heroes sleep peacefully while they await Jesus’ return to renew their body and reunite it with their soul.
Take a look at real photos and stories of Saint Bernadette, Blessed Imelda, and Saint Padre Pio. They died long ago and look asleep!
Blessed Imelda Lambertini
Known better as Blessed Imelda, she died as a young girl in 1333, after miraculously receiving her 1st Holy Communion and was later found incorrupt. She was beatified in 1826 and her incorrupt body can be viewed in the Church of San Sigismondo in Bologna, Italy.
Saint Padre Pio
Born May 25, 1887 and died September 23, 1968, his body was exhumed nearly 40 years after his death in March 2008, and found to be incorrupt. He is the only priest known to have received the full stigmata (wounds) of Jesus Christ, and known for great miracles such as the odor of sanctity, bilocation, prophecy, conversion, reading of souls, and miraculous cures. His body rests peacefully in the church of Our Lady of Grace, in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous
Bernadette was the original visionary at Lourdes, France and died in 1879 in Nevers, France. Her body was exhumed 30 years later in 1909 and was discovered completely incorrupt and free of odor. The body was again exhumed a second time ten years later in 1919 and again in 1925 and was still incorrupt. Her body sleeps in the Chapel of St. Bernadette in Nevers, France today.
So, when the rest of the world seems to be doing everything on Halloween to celebrate the “living dead” as zombies, ghosts and vampires, we have an opportunity to remember those dead who call us to a forever renewed life, our saints. The truly living, and not-so-dead, heroes of Heaven.