November 1, 2012 A.D.
Sixteen years ago, the Community of Caritas took a path departing away from what has become the culture’s way of celebrating Halloween. Here below are some pictures of this night celebrated in a Holy Way.
Sixteen years ago, the Community of Caritas took a path departing away from what has become the culture’s way of celebrating Halloween. October 31st used to be one of the holiest days of the year in the Catholic calendar, but has instead become not only a secular “holiday” in our culture but one that celebrates darkness, rather than the Light of Christ that was spread through the lives of Holy Souls who once walked the earth.
Creating our own Christian culture within the Caritas Community through the living of Our Lady of Medjugorje’s messages, A Friend of Medjugorje led the community back to living October 31 in prayer and in honoring our beloved dead. This day has become for us one of our most treasured days of the year. Last night, the members of our community, all taking various paths, arrived at the community cemetery, greeted by a large bonfire that took the chill out of the fall evening air. The nearly full moon slowly rose into the sky, casting its blue light over us. Many of the children, after resting the ends of long sticks in the fire, ran around the adults twirling the glowing ends in bright orange streaks of light. The wife of our founder had spent the day decorating each community grave with hay bales, scarecrows, candles, fall decorations, and candy hidden for the children to find. For many, cemeteries are scary places to visit at night. For us in community, walking into our cemetery is like walking into the embrace of our loved ones—separated only by the thin veil that separates our world from eternity.
Blankets were laid down around the fire forming a circle of the community families and single consecrated men and women. We listened to our founder give a brief history of how this night started in the community for the new members present, but also to teach our children the history of why and how this tradition began. Then each member, in their turn, spoke out loud the names of those whom they wished to remember and pray for on this night. Beloved members of our family who have died were named, as well as close friends of Our Lady’s mission who we have lost over the years, those who lived on this land before us, soldiers who had died fighting for our nation’s freedom, even many of our founding fathers were remembered and named, along with saints, among so many other names that were continuously being added to the growing list as each member took their turn. We remembered back to the year before, when our sweet Andrea was still among us, sitting with her husband and children on their own blanket. We could not imagine back then that it would be her last “All Hallow’s Eve” with us, and that her name would be among the new names spoken around our fire this year. Yet, her presence was deeply felt.
With all our deceased loved ones remembered, we began to pray the Rosary for them. As the Rosary is prayed, everyone, from the oldest to the youngest, picks a dead leaf from the ground, and kneels before the fire, asking God in silent prayer to take all that is dead and lifeless in our spiritual lives, our sins, our failures, our mistakes that are now represented by the dead leaf held in our hand. Before throwing the leaf in the fire, we ask God to burn all the negative up in the purifying fire of His love, that we might be set free from it all and experience a rebirth of holiness in our lives, a new and fresh conversion of the heart. At the end of the Rosary, our founder was handed Words from Heaven, the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje. Before randomly picking a message from the book, he prayed that by our prayer and actions tonight, that Our Lady would lead us in our lives to become more like Her Son, to bear His light in the world, and that we would all have the gift of a holy death at the end of our lives. The following message was the words Our Lady chose for us this night:
March 25, 2009
The Rosary ended, and while many still lingered by the fire, others went to unwrap the treats that had been baked and prepared to add a little festivity to our evening. They were especially enjoyed having just finished our 9-day fast on bread and water. Most were not in too of a hurry to go home and so for another two or more hours, we laughed, told and shared stories around the fire, reluctant to let our holy night end.
More for your spiritual nourishment, see below: