Costumes, Halloween! Soon many will be celebrating halloween but not in any hallowed way. The word ‘hallow’ is the word for ‘holy’. In the Lord’s Prayer we say ‘Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed (Holy) be thy Name’. In fact Halloween really means ‘All Hallow’s Eve’, that is the evening before All Saint’s Day.
The roots of Halloween
Before 835AD the feast of All Saints was in fact celebrated after Easter, some time in May. The central part of the Christian faith is the Death and Resurrection of Jesus , the source of our eternal salvation and our own future resurrection from the dead. God’s amazing gift to us is the Holy Spirit who makes us new people capable of loving God and others. This is what it means to be holy, this is what it means to be a saint.
A Christian does not want his or her idea of fun to be associated with the deeds of darkness in any subtle or overt way
The date of Halloween was changed to 1st November in an attempt by the Church at that time to turn an existing pagan feast for the dead into a Christian feast for the ‘faithful departed’. This was meant to remind them that nothing, ‘not even death … can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus’ (Rom 8:39). It was also marked by special prayers for the dead who may be in need of the intercession of their loved ones here on earth. So ‘Halloween’ became the vigil of the feasts All Saints and All Souls.
Yet Halloween has largely returned to its truly pagan roots. It all seems innocent fun and for some it is. Trick or treat and pumpkin lanterns may all have their origins in ancient folk tales but the darker side of ‘Halloween’ is unmistakable. Devils, witches, skeletons and other macabre costumes betray the occultic overtones and those involved in such practices mark it in a very particular way. This is not to say that people who dress up for halloween are in any participating in the occult but certainly a Christian does not want his or her idea of fun to be associated with the deeds of darkness in any subtle or overt way. Moreover it is a great opportunity for us to remember some very important truths.
The Devil is no fun
The devil is no fun. He is the ‘father of all lies’ (John 8:44) and his first line of attack is to tempt us to think that sin is not serious – and of course then to indulge in it. Perhaps his motto is ‘naughty but ‘nice.’ No wonder the Word of God warns us:
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith 1Pet. 5:8-9
This is no cute tame cat. He is our enemy and he is a stalker like a lion looking for his prey. Peter is warning us here ‘don’t become the Lion’s Lunch.’
The Danger of the Occult
The devil beguiles some people into thinking that the occult is harmless and can even be a source of knowledge and fun. But watch out:
Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2Cor. 11:14.
Ouija Boards, fortune telling, seances, wicca, witchcraft, spells are very dangerous and open the door to demonic activity in our lives
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. Deut. 18:10-12
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:8
A spiritual Battle
Even though many people believe that satan and demons exist, they often forget or are ignorant of the implications. There is a spiritual battle going on and we are in it. There is no neutral state – we are either on one side or the other. In every war there are the spoils of war and booty. The booty of this war is nothing less than the souls of men.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph. 6:12
This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one”makes man’s life a battle: The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 409)
Know you can have victory
The Lord who loves us will give us all the power and grace we need to live in victory, to love God and others. After all ‘the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work’ (1John 3:8) and ‘the One (the Holy Spirit) who is in you is Greater than the one (Satan) who is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4). Jesus himself taught us to pray with confidence to the Father ‘deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13).
If you have dabbled in the occult, ask Jesus forgiveness and speak to a priest or a mature Christian about it. But it needn’t have gone so far. If we are living in sin, Father God beckons us to return to Him. In any case, in our daily lives let us live as close to Jesus because His word promises: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:7,8)
And if you are thinking of donning a Halloween costume this year why not put on (metaphorically speaking) a different costume, the right costume:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Eph. 6:10-11