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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monster or the Monstrance

I was having breakfast with a parishioner friend over at one of the Jalan Kayu food stall, where we had some prata with teh halia and tehchino.

Over the course of the conversation, our subject matter came to the festivity of Halloween and how does it square with our Christian faith. Our current understanding to this seemed to have been muddled by the overwhelming presence of the secular and the practices that tend to border on the pagan realm. Its actual intention certainly had been Christian but somehow all this have been hijacked by the forces of consumerism, pagan lore and other urban legends that one wonders where faith begins and superstitious mumbo jumbo ends.

Here states the point clearly concerning Halloween (or Hallowe'en): Solemnity celebrated on the first of November. It is instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts during the year. 

By this, I am reminded of an enlightening article entitled Monster vs Monstrance (M vs M) and it mentions about the dilemma for Christians concerning this celebration. It carries with it a rather thoughful piece as to the real intention which all people of the faith ought to follow when faced with the 'supernatural' dimension that accompanies Halloween. The young generation of our times are especially fascinated by such supernatural elements as a "... vast panoply of scary creatures [of] the human imagination ..." has been made available to them. Unfortunately, this type of imagination has not been carefully qualified to them concerning the influences and effects that can do them no good, thinking that all this is harmless or for the sake of entertainment.

Fr Barron has a reason for this rather taken-for-granted attitude which may the be symptom of our generation today: we are, by nature, wired for God, but in this time and age, our very deep aspirations for the divine and the supernatural have been deprived or suppressed, this suppression thus brings about an effect of a coming out or an acting out of an alternative that expresses itself in forms in what we now see in this fascination for monsters, zombies, vampires and the dark supernaturalism powers and their ilk. So, for this night, there are opportunities that abound all over town and in entertainment places where Halloween would be celebrated and enjoyed within this view that centers on the supernatural dark of things, and all in the name of fun and harmless enjoyment.

I may not be too far in saying that some of our people of the faith also do join in these 'festivities'. This begs the question: Could we be better off celebrating this vigil of Hallow's Eve in a much more fitting manner that do give honour to the saints and the dead in the light of God's love rather than engaging in activities that celebrate the dark?

While at Vespers and Adoration this evening with the seminarians, I found my answer. It was a long time since I attended one, where my whole being was in attention to the celebration, in the wonder  and awe of the Eucharistic presence of the Lord in the monstrance during adoration for the Evening Prayer I for All Saints. The singing of the hymns by the seminarians in the chapel attenuated with the structure of the building and gave their voices almost angelic-like and there was the palpable presence of the divine and I could almost, just almost, touch the hems of the multitude of saints and those who have gone before us in heaven. That powerful and awesome was the feeling and I would recommend this form of adoration incorporated with Vespers to welcome All Saints on this eve.

It is as if to bring about a choice to be made to the following question, which was mentioned in M vs M: "... It’s what Jesus calls the broad and the narrow way and it boils down to this: the Monster or the Monstrance."

Choose wisely...
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Anonymous said...

hi fr aloy..

advance birthday greetings to you!

Yes, Gen X is fascinated with supernatural like holloween? a little fun is harmless.. i suppose.. but def not to the extend of becoming a religious like.. such as an occult..

This gen is particulary curious in supernatural things unlike faith.. Maybe it's give them the suspense, thrills.. etc.. unlike faith which probably is boring or uninteresting..

The thing is that if you are unaware and your faith is weak or misguided, there's a tendency
to indulge in supernatural .. like oujia boards, tarrot cards.. or anything that run conter against chritianity.. In such a instances, as exorcist may say.. you may end up make a pact with the devil.. This of course is almost to the extreme.

to gen X, Live a Christ centered life.. no matter what people may say.. yu will be a much happier person in time to come..

God Bless!

Playful Elena said...

Huh? When is your birthday? Anyway, Happy Birthday to you lah!! May each day of your life be soaked in the mystery of Love! Enjoy yourself, man!! Woo hoo...

Hey, I like your blog title, 'Monster or Monstrance'. I guess that is why I need to stay in the presence of the Lord in the monstrance before I become a monster to wreck people's lives with sins. Sometimes, when I look at how I have hurt people through my sins, I do not need to be excited by such scary supernatural beings on the day of Halloween when in actual fact the person I look at in the mirror is more horrible and scarier than those vampires, ghosts, monsters, etc.

All Saints' Day reminds me that I am here to share God's Love with the others and go through purification here on earth so that I can get closer and closer to God, walking on the path towards holiness through the vocation I am called to. It is all about decreasing more and more of me and increasing more and more of God in my life.

With Love,

Unknown said...

thanks for the clarifications on halloween.I actually thought it was holyween. Have a great birthday. Everything is yes e no here.

Joanne W said...

Thanks for this very informative post. I had NO IDEA Halloween had anything to do with our faith


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