Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pondering Halloween . . .

They just had a contest for scariest mask,
And I was the wild and daring one
Who won the contest for scariest mask-
And (sob) I'm not even wearing one.
 by shel silverstein

According to the statistics, the USA spends approximately 9 billion dollars on Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations.  Even our pets are fully costumed along with accessories to the tune of 3-4 million dollars.  This is an eve to celebrate “All Hallows Eve," the day before All Saints Day.

Background: Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic tribes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany. On October 31, the tribes would celebrate the festival of Samhain. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead -- including ghosts, goblins, and witches -- returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires.

Also, the current custom of going door-to-door to collect treats actually started in Ireland hundreds of years ago. Groups of farmers would go door-to-door collecting food and materials for a village feast and bonfire. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who did not received threats of bad luck. When an influx of Irish Catholic immigrants came to the United States in the 1800s, the custom of trick-or-treating came with them.

So what is the Good News for us at Halloween?
Let us ponder . . .
• Do we ever put on masks to hide our true selves?
• Do we ever wear masks to present a particular identity or image?
• Often Halloween is a time for children and adults to dress up like a character they’d like to be. Who would you like to be if you had a chance to take on the persona of someone else?
• All of these “fun ‘n games” are grounded in our faith needs - that is, to scare away evil, and have the courage to stand tall and let our true inner selves come forward without fear, and to call upon all the saints – women, men, and children who have been witnesses of lives lived with integrity, mercy, faith, and forgiveness - to be our companions on our faith journey.

Faith Is . . .
Faith is risking what is for what is yet to be.
It is taking small steps knowing they lead to bigger ones.
Faith is holding on when you want to let go.
It is letting go when you want to hold on.
Faith is saying YES when everything else says NO.
It is believing all things are possible in the midst of impossibilities.
Faith is looking beyond what is  and trusting for what will be.
It is the presence of light in darkness, the presence of God in all.
Ellen M. Cuomo

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