“In Honour Of The Ancestors…!”
Today 1st November is “All Saints Day.” This is a Christian feast day in honour of all the saints who are in heaven.
While All Saints Day celebrates all Saints and Martyrs on November 1st, November 2nd celebrates All Souls Day in honour of all Christians who have died.
The veneration of Saints is transposed from ancestral veneration which was one of the things the progressing church had to contend with.
The veneration of saints helped in the development of the teaching about the three parts that constitute the Church.
These are the Church Triumphant – constituting those whose earthly lives were examples for Christians to emulate. These are in heaven. There is the Church Expectant, constituting the souls in purgatory who over time would be elevated to heaven through prayers. The idea of purgatory is what propagated the sales of indulgences; that the more you pay for prayer for a soul in purgatory so its chances of being elevated to the Church Triumphant.
The Christians now living constitute the Church Militant. Members of the Church Militant are living soldiers of Christ living holy lives while the members of the Church Triumphant intercedes for them.
Though the veneration of the Saints was a compromise to redirect Christians who believed so much in the powers of their dead helping them, missionary Christianity in Africa vehemently opposed African ancestral veneration; ancestors who are able to intercede for the living in the same way that the Church Triumphant intercedes for the living Christians.
Away from dead saints whether in the Church Triumphant or Church Expectant, the members of the Church Militant that we are, are called upon to live holy lives because the LORD is Holy. And without holiness none of us will be part of the kingdom – even though we constitute the body of Christ, the Church.
Besides, it is important to keep alive the memories of our departed ones.
If it is possible today, go to the grave(s) of your departed ones and keep it clean. Pray for the souls of your departed ones and ask those of ancestral elevation to intercede for you.
The God we pray to is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is to say he is the God of all ancestors.
In Protestant teaching the members of the Church Triumphant assist Christ in his heavenly priestly function.
May the souls of the saintly departed rest in perfect peace and may we who are alive live lives that are worthy of saints.
For saintly living the Beatitudes is recommended for our All Saints Day reflection.
Prayer: Holy Spirit guide us towards saintly living as we commemorate All Saints Day. Amen!
Happy Saints Day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.
(For an elaborate discussion, read my work, “What About Our Ancestors?”).
“Arm Yourself With The Same Attitude Of Suffering In The Body…!”(I Pt.4:1-6).The emphasis of “Joy to the world…” at Christmas more often than not multiply