Today’s guest post is by Brandon Rappuhn, a Logos marketing copywriter.
Tomorrow is All Saints’ Day, one of our Holy Days of Obligation—a day when we celebrate the martyrs and saints who suffered for Christ. I’ve heard it referred to as the “Easter of the autumn,” and upon a closer look at the feast day, that seems highly accurate.
On Easter, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, from whose wounded side the Church was born. So too is the Church sustained by the lives and wounds of the martyrs, who themselves bore their crosses and shared in Christ’s sufferings. In the Eucharist of every Mass, we celebrate Christ, the sacrificial Passover Lamb, who died on Good Friday to be raised on Easter. And on All Saints’ Day, we celebrate those who have imitated Christ, who have become most like Christ during their earthly lives, who have died and now live eternally with their King.
Today is All Hallow’s Eve (the eve of the holy ones), as it was called centuries ago, when All Saints’ Day was called All Hallow’s Day (the day of the holy ones). The celebration of All Hallow’s Day dates back to the third and fourth centuries AD, when Christians were persecuted and martyrdom was frequent. Christians would remember their martyred friends and family by celebrating the Eucharist in their tombs, using the tomb as an altar table, symbolizing the martyr’s part of the sacrifice of Christ.
This practice ended before the eighth century. Pope Gregory III would later set the date for All Hallow’s Day as November 1—the day we have celebrated our martyrs and saints ever since. Candles are lit in honor of the saints, as we look to them for direction leading us to Christ. We remember all the saints on this day, ask for their intercession, look to their incredible faith, and strive toward perfection in unity and love.
Which saint is a model of Christ to you? Who inspires you in Christlikeness and faith?