Martyrs & Demons

If you found your way over here from CatholicLand, you already know that Halloween is one of the most Christian holidays of the calendar year. And if you’re just joining, you’ve jumped in for the best part. All Hallows Eve is a vigil preparing us for two sacred days to follow: All Saints Day and All Souls Day. All Hallows Eve is an opportunity to reflect on how very close we are to sin and darkness. Yet it is also a celebration that the Light is with us. Halloween is day to recognize that choosing Christ puts us at great risk; centuries of martyrdom and defamation teach us that. It is a day to reflect on our own mortality. Yet it is also a day to rejoice and make merry, because no dying, no demon, no power on earth can overcome the Love of God.

In this blog, I would like to explore in greater depth the necessity of understanding the power of evil, but also its antidote, a saintly life which chooses Christ above all else, witnessing the Gospel even unto a martyr’s death. In choosing to juxtapose these two subjects, I am reminded of a piece from the original Fantasia. It begins with a visual representation of the Night on Bald Mountain, when the demons and ghouls hearken to Lucifer’s call. They join in the dance macabre around the burning flames and their merriment reaches a fevered pitch before a lone knell sounds out from the valley below. The demons cower back in fear at the sound of the Churchbell and slink away back to their graves and shadows. Then, from the town, a winding queue of luminaries appears, gracefully progressing towards the forest. As the vigilant souls carry their lights into the forest, they illuminate the trees overhead, which resemble the vaulted ceiling of a cathedral. The breathtaking strains of Ave Maria fill the animation sequence as it fades into a haunting finish.

We must remember that there are two ways we can be haunted on Halloween. We can be haunted by great fear, or we can be haunted by the hallowed souls who lead the way to Christ. We can reflect on our sins and the horrors of the Devil, or we can look with great hope to the example of those possessing heroic virtue. For all the terror in the world, there is a more-surpassing goodness which calls on our senses. But perhaps you don’t regard either? Perhaps you think the Devil is a myth? Perhaps you think martyrdom is the stuff of history? Perhaps it’s time we explored the truth…

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