An Old Irish Tale states:
On route home after a night's drinking, Jack encounters the Devil and tricks him into climbing a tree. A quick-thinking Jack etches the sign of the cross into the bark, thus trapping the Devil. Jack strikes a bargain that Satan can never claim his soul. After a life of sin, drink, and mendacity, Jack is refused entry to heaven when he dies. Keeping his promise, the Devil refuses to let Jack into hell and throws a live coal straight from the fires of hell at him. It was a cold night, so Jack places the coal in a hollowed out turnip to stop it from going out, since which time Jack and his lantern have been roaming looking for a place to rest.
Now, I must admit I like this tale. I like it because it embodies some of my favorite things:
1. The Irish
2. Quick thinking Drunks
3. The Christian who thinks He has Heaven Sowed up (or Once Saved Always Saved)
4. The Come Upance of the Arrogant
Halloween has never been a problem for me as a Catholic Christian. I never worried about it being Satan's birthday or having pagan origins. In fact, none of the accusations that start out "That was a pagan holiday" has ever bothered me because I understand how True Evangelization works. The Church teaches that man has a natural inclination to search for God and may, in the absence of Truth, try his best to come up with ways to reach his Creator. When The Church comes to a people, it is Her responsibility to honor those customs that were the honest and natural attempt to know, love and serve God and to adapt those customs to Truth. Thus honoring The Creator Spirit at the end of harvest or recognizing that our beloveds go on to another life become the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls. We have some fun with the customs, we stick a light in a pumpkin instead of a coal into a turnip and we just have fun.
I will tell you I do not like the slutty girl look in terms of costumes but that is just me. I remember trying to participate that way when I was in college and I just always felt so uncomfortable - not that I had the courage to say that, heavens no! God forbid I stand up for myself and be authentic. Heck, I would have had no friends!
Which is not true, right? Right - I would have had friends, but I didn't trust God back then; rather, I trusted only my own fear and that God shaped hole in my gut that was fixed only when a good swallow of Cutty Sark hit my stomach.
Those days are gone. Today I enjoy my holidays and do not take them too seriously, unless they are supposed to be seriously taken.
Tomorrow, for instance, is a Holy Day of Obligation. I get to go to Mass.
Did you hear me?
I said, "I GET TO GO TO MASS".
I get to do something the brave women and men of Iraq and Syria and parts of Africa are being prevented from doing - I get to stand before God and say, "I Love You" and receive Him in the Eucharist.
How wonderful is my life?
Have a great night tonight, people.