I’ve been feeling like I need to put something out on Front Street. What I’m going to talk about in this post may very well upset some people who read it and for that I apologize in advance, as these are merely my views and opinions on the matter, but I feel that I need to let them out or else they are just going to keep eating away at me.
So, as I write this out now it’s the eve of all hallows eve. This past weekend was the weekend for Halloween parties to go down where people dress up in their best, worst, scariest, or skimpiest to have a good time boozing it out with like-minded individuals. Cool for them, right? But the question I have started to ask myself as I’ve continued on my journey of faith is “Why has the bastardization of Catholic feast days and holy days of obligation continued and even gotten worse as time has passed?” I know, I know, you’re probably reading this and are saying something along the lines of “STFU YOU IDIOT!!!!!” But, hang out. This is what I mean. What are three of the biggest non-holiday celebration days here in the U.S.? Valentine’s Days, St. Patrick’s Day, and Halloween right? Some would argue others, but those 3 are pretty big days here to celebrate for one reason or another. Thing is for the secularized world, Valentine’s Day is a day where you have to get hearts, roses, chocolates, a card, some stuffed animals or whatnot, and go to a restaurant and wait in a long line with the rest of the people there either trying to impress their potential significant other, or go with the flow with their significant other/spouse (heck sometimes both at separate times on the same night!). Little do people know or more than likely care that it’s a Catholic feast day venerating a saint. Granted, St. Valentine and his history are a bit cloudy, it’s still clear that it is a Catholic feast day of a saint and he is the patron saint of love, marriages, etc. Of course this has been twisted around by culture over the years to what we get now.
Same goes for St. Patrick’s Day. People know it now as a day to dress up in green, wear shamrocks, claim to be Irish, and go out and party and get drunk on green dyed beers and/or other cocktails with a large swath of people. What it really is, however, is a Catholic feast day venerating the patron saint of Ireland who converted nearly the entire country to Christianity. How it came to what it is now is a long and wild story, I’m sure, but it just bothers me slightly that these two big “holidays” that are celebrated here are done now for all the wrong reasons.
The same goes for Halloween. This one is just as bothersome to me as the previous two because Halloween came out of the day of anticipation for All Saints Day and had nothing to do with candy, booze, immodest attire, and partying under the veils of black and orange lights like it’s devolved into now.
I know this blog is coming across as a “come to Jesus”/”take a knee” moment, but I’m not really trying to go for that at all. What I’m saying in the context of referencing my points is that ever since I started going to Traditional Latin Mass at my local FSSP apostolate, Immaculate Conception Church, I have found that I have learned as much or even more about my faith than I did in the previous 34 or so years before FSSP was invited here by our bishop. Before this, I had attended 5 Masses in the Extraordinary Form all during a Lenten Mission and was immediately drawn to it. Thanks to my very good friend Michael, who is in the know in matters of the faith here locally, he got word of FSSP giving us a one-night only Mass at one of the seminaries here in town to gauge interest, both by FSSP and our bishop. Needless to say, we overflowed the chapel where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered and the bishop invited them to stay. Anyway, my first Mass at Immaculate Conception was another holy day of obligation, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is on December 8th (the day before my birthday!). The only reason I hadn’t gone sooner is because I was unaware that FSSP had been given the parish already as of that previous August.
That quick backstory about me leads me to my point. I didn’t know my faith enough. I wasn’t involved in the own salvation of my soul! Did I know holy days of obligation? Did I know the history behind the aforementioned feast days? Could I defend my faith against people who would try to convert me to protestantism (it almost worked once!), or just as bad, trash talk my faith to me expecting a defense? Well… no, not really. I wasn’t engaged too much. Confessions started out as something I rarely did as a kid to something I did even less of in my teenage years. I wasn’t even aware of what constituted a mortal sin therefore falling out of the state of grace. It’s no surprise to me that a lot of people I grew up with going to catechism class, and confirmation class either turned protestant (a general term for anything else other than Catholic), or atheist. Same goes with family and friends. We weren’t being taught our faith. That problem still goes on today with some of the things I see happening at Novus Ordo parishes (i.e. the behavior and dress… or lack thereof… of the laity, and even worse, things like yoga classes being offered at parishes!) I feel like I’m the only one around of my peers that acknowledges the holy days of obligation, and the great feast days that people have twisted with time to where I feel like an outcast. No matter though. My goal here is to get myself ready at any moment to defend my faith, with my life if necessary, and to aspire to if not outright live a life of a saint and by God’s grace make it to heaven when I die. I’m learning more and more each passing day about my faith. It’s an ever growing, ever evolving thing in my life and for that I am grateful.
WHEW! Well, with all that said I circle back to the timing of this blog post, Halloween. I’m finding more and more each year that I really don’t care for it. Bless the people’s hearts that do, as it’s a pretty intense thing for a lot of people, but ever since my late teen years and even more so now the past 3 years or so, the last day of October into the first two days of November have come to mean a completely different and deeply spiritual thing to me that does not involve ghosts (well, only one, the Holy Ghost), goblins, vampires, witches, the undead, naughty nurses/law enforcement officers, etc. It involves preparing for, first, the celebration of all of the canonized saints in heaven on November 1st, then the praying for all of the souls that have passed on on November 2nd. I appreciate the invites to parties and I’m all for cosplay and stuff, but doing it around holy days of obligation and/or reverence has never really been my thing and even less now.