Celebrating All Souls’ Day

All Souls Day is the final segment of a trinity of days found in Christian traditions around harvest time in the Northern hemisphere.

Like all good Christian holy days, the roots of this trinity of days can be found in pagan practices. The first day of the three in the series is now commonly known as Halloween; it was co-opted into Christianity as All Hallow’s Eve, and comes from a Celtic festival called Samhain. (sounds like sow-wain)

The festival of Samhain (which is also the word for November in some Gaelic languages) is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the ‘Celtic New Year’.

Although these holy-days originally marked the time of harvest, they are more broadly about the cycle of life, death and rebirth in nature. A cycle Christianity celebrates at its very core in the archetypal story of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

We in the Southern Hemisphere simply encounter these holy-days from a different place in the spiral cycle as we witness to the wonder of renewal in spring.

Let us pray:

Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude,
the spiritual blindness that prevents us
from appreciating the wonder that is this world,
the endless cycle of nature,
of life and death and rebirth.
Forgive us for taking without giving
reaping without sowing.
Open our eyes to see
our lips to praise
our hands to share
and may our feet tread lightly on the road.

As a part of nature’s wondrous cycle
Of new birth, growth, fruitfulness and death
We rejoice in the creation of new life,
For parenthood, the passing on of knowledge,
For understanding and the wisdom of years.
We are grateful for those who have gone before
Passing on to us our spiritual heritage.
May our lives blossom as the apple tree in Spring
May we become fruitful in thought and deed
And may the seed of love that falls to the ground
Linger beyond our time on this earth. (adapted from Fr Bede Jarrett O.P.)

posted 09 Nov 2014 by Jana