Today is All Saints Day in the Catholic tradition and Dia de los Muertos in Mexico. It is a holy day, the day after Halloween, the hallowed eve. On this day, the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest of the whole year. Today, the spirits whisper into the physical realm. Today heaven opens and touches earth. On All Saints Day, we are most awake to the other side.
The saints and mystics of old reach out from the spirit realm to all who are seeking wisdom and understanding here on earth. The cloud of witnesses cheer on the seekers to finish the race of faith. Sainthood is the crown at the finish line.
Many start the race, but few finish. Faith is a marathon, an endurance race of exhilarating sprints and excruciating sprained ankles, mountains of marvel and deserts of drudgery, times of strength and times of weakness. Each part of the journey molds and changes us as we ascend to sainthood, and gain that crown, the place at the divine table.
It Is Good to Honor the Dead
Many Catholic and Orthodox churches will light candles and hold services today to honor the saints on All Saints Day. I love the peaceful, illuminating glow of the soft candle, the mystery of the light that quenches the darkness. Meditative. Communing with the saints is a healing place, a place of wholeness, a place of goodness.
In Mexico with Dia de los Muertos, and other places that celebrate holidays honoring the dead, altars will be erected and cemeteries visited. The spirits of our ancestors, our friends and family who have crossed the veil, want to communicate with us. It is healing for them and for us. It is good. Today the lines of communication are clear as they ever will be.
Some churches preach that it is evil to speak with the dead. Some Catholics embrace All Saints Day but reject communicating with ancestors or the dead who have not been declared saints by the church. Protestants reject all communication with the dead.
Certainly, communicating with the other side muddies the Protestant understanding of a black-and-white heaven and hell. But Catholics understand the middle place of purgatory, and Jesus spoke of outer darkness. Spirits roam the earth in this place of decision, longing for healing and reconciliation with their loved ones. They also learn about the divine kingdom, and they work through the agony of purifying their hearts of greed, anger, bitterness, and hatred. To ascend to higher realms, they must make amends for any wrongs and injustice they committed on earth. Altars, candles, and incense help in this communication. It is good. It is healing. It is love.
Take a look at this interesting passage:
1 Peter 4:6 (KJV)
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
The gospel, the good news of the kingdom, can be preached to the dead. All Saints Day, when the veil is thin, is an ideal time.
There is only a thin veil, a sheer curtain, a mist, that separates the living and the dead, the seen and the unseen. All Saints Day is the easiest day to peek through the veil.
What would you like to learn today? Sit at the feet of a wise saint and ask questions. The easiest way to do this is with a private journal, pen and paper. Don’t censor what you hear, just listen. You can do this at a church, a coffee shop, or at home. Use a candle, an altar, or just your imagination. Use your intuition. The Holy Spirit will not lead you wrong if you seek her wisdom.
Honor the memory of your deceased family and friends on this Dia de los Muertos. Visit them at a cemetery or in your imagination. Talk with them.