This weekend, we enter the end of October and begin one of the holiest and best times of year: the Fall Triduum, the three days of All Hallows’ Eve, The Feast of All Saints, and the Feast of All Souls. The first day we all know popularly as Halloween, and I hope you and any children will wear costumes to church on Sunday as a sign of joy and to scare away and ghosts or ghouls!
But despite the great fun of Halloween—I hope you have at least one great party to attend or go trick-or-treating!— “All Hallows” really refers to all the hallowed ones, saints the church has canonized, whom we try to emulate. On November 1, All Saints’ Day, we remember those saints; if you want to keep the feast on the actual day, you can attend Morning Prayer on Zoom, which will use the readings of the day. On November 2, we remember all those who have gone ahead and are known only to us—friends, family members, mentors, and others.
So, for three days we live in a “thin place” when the chasm separating the living from the dead becomes a diaphanous veil, when we feel in our bones that we are not separated from the great cloud of witnesses. And at All Saints, we extend and integrate this Triduum as we celebrate the Feast of All Saints on Sunday, November 6, remembering the “official” saints and our own beloved dead. We feel the dead surrounding us as their names flutter overhead, as we sing with our brass band, as we baptize the newest members of the church, as joy and sorrow commingle in our hearts.
This is the best time of year, Beloved. It’s been my favorite since I was first exploring the church, contemplating being baptized, when, on All Saints’ Day, a parishioner burst into the room of Catechumens (see below for more about that word!), wishing us all a blessed All Saints, “the best day of the year!” And then we learned about this thin time, and I realized that my family wasn’t just those I could see, but all who had gone ahead of me, known and unknown, and that all are remembered even if we forget them, for all are written on the hands of God.
I’ll be praying for all those we love but see no longer this week, beginning this Sunday when our littlest goblins and ghoulies show up in costume and continuing throughout the week, especially next Friday when we will read, pray over, and hang our prayer flags, and culminating when we gather with ALL of our All Saints for our feast of title on November 6. So glad we get to celebrate this best time of the year together!