Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence: The Dark of Halloween fades to the Light of the Saints

Happy All Saint's Day!  Hopefully your Halloween was fun with just the right amount of horror! Today is a great day to embrace the light that has overtaken the night. As one of my favorite Advent hymn, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence sings in the third stanza:
Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.
And today is the day we celebrate the Saint's victory over the powers of hell, and pray for their assistance in our victory as well.  Because, although the horror on display on Halloween is often seen as the end in and of itself, (which is why it is sometimes so gratuitous - and hopeless), that horror points to the reality of what we fight against so that we too can become saints. The light of the saints reveals the darkness or our own lives, and what we have to fight against.  We do not fight against flesh and blood, we fight against powers and principalities   We cannot do it alone, we cannot resist the powers of hell in isolation or arrogance.  We need each other, we need the example of the saints, whose memories our Church preserves and honors so that we can benefit from the hope that they bear witness to. Because they show us that no horror endured in this world can overtake the glory that is growing in their souls (and ours as well if we accept it), though the powers of this world make it seem so.  The darkness they conjure is at times very black.  And we need to keep praying along with the saints and the hosts of heaven that our lives point to a hope that has not yet been revealed in its entirety, a hope that urges us to stop clinging to darkness, and face the pure light of Christ.

As C.S. Lewis points out, we are all everlasting souls, and in this life we are becoming one of two eternal destinies:  A soul of everlasting glory, a person that, if you saw them in that glory right now, you would be tempted to fall down and worship them for they would radiate God's splendor, or an everlasting horror, a being so terrible that you would not want to meet it in your worst nightmare.  But no one needs to meet the latter fate, all power for victory is available to you.  It is humble obedience the Father, who spares none of the heavenly hosts to assist you, and not just you, but all those you meet.

1 John 3:1-3
"Beloved:See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.  Yet so we are.  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved we are God's children now;  what we shall be has not yet been revealed.  We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure."

The final stanza of the song quoted above always brings home to me what an unspeakable joy and honor that we have been given in our adoption by the Father. The powerful host of heaven veil their glorious faces to the presence, the presence that is Christ the Lord, Firstborn of the Dead and through Him we can also be sons and daughters of God.  It is this power that the saints hoped in, they hoped because of the love that was bestowed on them.

At His feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Alleluia, Lord Most High! 

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