Catholic: big heart, broad mind.
--St Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 525
2720 The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year.
2721 The Christian tradition comprises three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. They have in common the recollection of the heart.
2722 Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul in human nature, associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart, following Christ's example of praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to his disciples.
2723 Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our own life.
2724 Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.
In her teachings on prayer, hailed as the foundational teachings on Catholic prayer, we learn that the soul grows from simply verbalizing what we “should” (reading prayers aloud) to desiring and understanding what God wills for us. She describes many “stops” along the path, giving us insight and detail into the mystical journey. She says:She calls this the prayer of infused recollection, and it is the beginning stages of the journey. In this prayer, the soul begins to experience the peace and sweetness of God, and often falls into a “sleep of the faculties,” noting though that people might fall into a false “sleep” due to hypersensitivity, poor health, or other conditions.
First of all, I will say something (though not much, as I have dealt with it elsewhere) about another kind of prayer, which almost invariably begins before this one. It is a form of recollection which also seems to me supernatural. . . . Do not think that the soul can attain to him merely by trying to think of him as present within the soul. This is a good habit and an excellent kind of meditation, for it is founded on a truth, namely, that God is within us. But it is not the kind of prayer that I have in mind. . . . What I am describing is quite different.
As I understand it, the soul whom the Lord has been pleased to lead into this mansion will do best to act as I have said… Let it try, without forcing itself or causing any turmoil, to put a stop to all discursive reasoning, yet not to suspend the intellect nor to cease from all thought, although it is good for it to remember that it is in God's presence and who this God is. If this experience should lead to a state of absorption, well and good, but it should not try to understand what this state is, because it is a gift bestowed on the will. Therefore, the will should be allowed to enjoy it and should not be active except to utter a few loving words (Fourth Mansions, chap. 3).
So what do Catholics do? First, they party. How? By dressing up like saints. :)
"The Solemnity of All Saints is celebrated on November 1. It is a Solemnity, a holyday of obligation, and it is the day that the Church honors all of God's saints, even those who have not been canonized by the Church. It is a family day of celebration—we celebrate the memory of those family members (sharing with us in the Mystical Body, the communion of saints) now sharing eternal happiness in the presence of God. We rejoice that they have reached their eternal goal and ask their prayers on our behalf so that we, too, may join them in heaven and praise God through all eternity.
The honoring of all Christian martyrs of the Faith was originally celebrated on May 13, the date established by the fourth century. Pope Boniface IV in 615 established it as the "Feast of All Martyrs" commemorating the dedication of the Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple, into a Christian church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs. In 844, Pope Gregory IV transferred the feast to November 1st. Some scholars believe this was to substitute a feast for the pagan celebrations during that time of year.
By 741, the feast included not only martyrs, but all the saints in heaven as well, with the title changing to "Feast of All Saints" by 840. Pope Sixtus IV in 1484 established November 1 as a holyday of obligation and gave it both a vigil (known today as "All Hallows' Eve" or "Hallowe'en") and an eight-day period or octave to celebrate the feast. By 1955, the octave of All Saints was removed.
Since Vatican II, some liturgical observances have been altered, one example being "fast before the feast" is no longer required. The Church recognizes Solemnities and Sundays as high feast days that last longer than a day. The celebration starts the evening before, as mentioned in The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar: "Solemnities are counted as the principal days in the calendar and their observance begins with evening prayer of the preceding day. Some also have their own vigil Mass for use when Mass is celebrated in the evening of the preceding day. The celebration of Easter and Christmas, the two greatest solemnities, continues for eight days, with each octave governed by its own rules." In the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, these days are marked by Evening Prayer I (the evening before) and Evening Prayer II (the evening of the solemnity).
In England, saints or holy people are called "hallowed", hence the name "All Hallow's Day". The evening, or "e'en" before the feast became popularly known as "All Hallows' Eve" or even shorter, "Hallowe'en".
Many recipes and traditions have come down for this evening, "All Hallows Eve" (now known as Hallowe'en), such as pancakes, boxty bread and boxty pancakes, barmbrack (Irish fruit bread with hidden charms), colcannon (combination of cabbage and boiled potatoes). This was also known as "Nutcrack Night" in England, where the family gathered around the hearth to enjoy cider and nuts and apples.
November 2 was the date designated to pray for all the departed souls in Purgatory, the Feast of All Souls. The feasts of All Saints and All Souls fall back to back to express the Christian belief of the "Communion of Saints." The Communion of Saints is the union of all the faithful on earth (the Church militant), the saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) and the Poor Souls in Purgatory (the Church suffering), with Christ as the Head. They are bound together by a supernatural bond, and can help one another. The Church Militant (those on earth still engaged in the struggle to save their souls) can venerate the Church Triumphant, and those saints can intercede with God for those still on earth. Both the faithful on earth and the saints in heaven can pray for the souls in Purgatory. During these two days we see the Communion of Saints really in action!
Throughout the centuries man has struggled to keep his focus on the one true Faith and its practices. So many times, though, the pagan superstitions creep back into practice. Although now with a holier purpose, when preparing for the huge feast of All Saints some pagan "cult of the dead" practices seeped into the mainstream. See excerpts from Florence Berger'sCooking for Christ to see read more of the historic origin of Halloween practices, particularly in the British Isles."
My dears, heaven has been pleased to try me with more
affliction than any other woman of my age and country. First I
lost my brave and lion-hearted husband, who had every good
quality under heaven, and whose name was great over all Hellas and middle Argos, and now my darling son is at the mercy of the winds and waves, without my having heard one word about his leaving home."
"If we want to understand the Bible, we need to understand it's plot. That plot is salvation history, the story of how God's plan for human salvation unfolds in the course of human events. In order to correctly understand the plot and recognize how Scripture applies to our lives, we need to read the Bible from the heart of the Church, seeing God's story with Catholic eyes. Knowing why we read the Bible, and how we should read the Bible, can give us that perspective."He then goes on to unpack the story of the walk along the Emmaus Road in such a way as to help the reader understand how Christ HIMSELF explains scripture to His disciples. Nope, this book is not preachy-- in fact-- there's hardly any text at all that isn't directly related to the biblical text itself. But it's eye opening and extremely interesting as a sort of timeline- method of passing through old, familiar Bible stories in light of the actions, words, and prophecies about the Christ.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.
-- Mary (Lk 1:46-55)
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us, humbly prostrate before Your altar. We are Yours and Yours we wish to be;but to be more surely united with You, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Your most Sacred Heart. Many, indeed, have never known You; many too, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Your Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord,not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You,but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to Your Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions,or whom discord keeps aloof,and call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith,so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd. Be You King also of all those who sit in the ancient superstition of the Gentiles, and refuse not to deliver them out of darkness into the light and kingdom of God. Grant, O Lord, to Your Church,assurance of freedom and immunity from harm;give peace and order to all nations,and make the Earth resound from pole to pole with one cry:Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation;to it be glory and honour forever. Amen. (for those Catholics in the know, we use the older Pre-Vat II version of this prayer ;))On Friday nights as the Sabbath begins, Jews CELEBRATE, as they are commanded to do. We Christians, however, fast and remember the death of Our Lord on the Cross. I find it profound that we who have so much in common and yet have such opposite commandments on this night, and it makes me solemn and prayerful.