As far as life in the Spirit goes, October has always been a vexing month to me. After many years of working on my spiritual walk and actually witnessing and participating in many moves of the spirit I believe that I have come to a place where I have a pretty well tuned spiritual antenna and because of that October has become my least favorite month. It has nothing to do with the “hand painted” beauty of the trees and refreshing new bite of the air, but rather with the dimensions that you can’t see or feel. October approaches the dark of the year when all appears to die and with it the forces of dark step up their activity as we get ready to move from all Hallows eve to All Saints and All Souls. If you still harbor skepticism about the existence of evil and the forces that practice it, take heed from this wisdom by the current preacher to the Pope, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap; “Many intellectuals do not believe in demons in the first sense. But it must be noted that many great writers, such as Goethe and Dostoyevsky, took Satan’s existence very seriously. Baudelaire, who was certainly no angel, said that ‘the demon’s greatest trick is to make people believe that he does not exist.’” (Magnificat, Vol. 12, No. 8, October 2010, p.118)
It has been my experience, then, that more spiritual mischief happens in October than any other month. October is a month of rough battle before the Northern hemisphere descends into a prolonged sleep that looks a lot like death. This observation is not meant to strike fear or be the portent of something that sends we believers into hiding. Instead, there are several points that we could make about this which show how generous God is and how perfectly tuned the Church is with the rhythm of the universe.
Spiritual warfare is all around us all of the time. As believers, though, we know that the Church has provided us with potent tools to use in these situations. It is part of our responsibility to know and use those tools whenever the occasion arises. Among those weapons we can count: intercession, petition, the Rosary, sacramentals including Holy Water, blessed oil and blessed salt, icons, relics, the Cross, Gregorian Chant, deliverance, exorcism, and most of all, the Communion of Saints. The Saints are our “military forces”, available at our beck and call. Each month the Church gives us reminders of who these warriors are, the struggles they had and the victories they have obtained. I’m talking about the declared feast days of those who have gone before us and are worthy enough to be called “Saint” by the church. These are the extraordinary people who gave a total yes to God and were able to accomplish amazing things because of it. You know, our examples, our heroes and heroines, those to be emulated who are still with us today in the Communion of Saints and still working on our behalf from heaven. These are our very tangible spiritual reinforcements. Every month has a collection of them, some minor, some major, some that many people have never heard of, but yet they are present.
Then there is the extraordinary month of October and it’s remembrances of our warriors. Feast days of Saints are not arbitrary. The practice for declaring a feast memorial or solemnity for a saint is not something that some official does by sitting down and looking at a month and then picking a saint to fill in a blank date! The Church has a time honored practice of declaring a solemnity, feast or memorial based very strictly on the day that a particular saint died. It’s not something that a bureaucrat is in control of. The importance of the day that a Saint died is based on the concept that in a person’s life, that is the day that we meet God and finally become our true selves, finally free of the restrictions of this earth. It is that day we become fully human and fully spirit and finally become the vision of who we are in God’s eyes. The Little Flower (St. Therese of the Child Jesus) had a clear vision of this concept as she regularly told people that she would spend “her heaven” doing good on earth. If we look through an annual calendar we can see that some months are full of heavy hitters and other months not so much. When it comes to October, though, we can see some extraordinary things. First of all, we see that October is a month in which twenty Saints of extraordinary repute are celebrated. More than that, we can see that the warriors who are celebrated in October are some who literally changed the course of the Church in the world. October contains the memorials of: St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, The Guardian Angels, St. Francis of Assisi, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), St. Luke, St Paul of the Cross, Saint Casllistus, Saints Simon and Jude and Margaret Mary Alacoque to mention a few. How amazing is it that in this month of increased “dark activity” in the world we have direct assistance from: Two doctors of the Church, a friar who shaped all future spirituality, three disciples, a writer of the Gospels, the woman who taught the world about the Sacred heart, a mystic priest, a slave who became a pope and other extraordinary servants. In addition we can't ignore the wisdom of heaven for those of us still on earth; October also highlights Mary's potent assistance as we celebrate the month of the Rosary, Our Lady of Fatima and our victory at Leponto!
For me, this singular collection of warriors can only be an amazing move of the Spirit in a month when we need a high level of assistance. Although my observations and speculations about October are strictly personal one cannot deny that this collection of amazing people, all in one month, is inspiring. Only God knows why and how these spiritual power houses all came to be celebrated in the same calendar month. You may agree or disagree with my observations. One thing cannot be denied, however. The spiritual power and guidance that is available to us in October via the memorials and feasts is overwhelming. We won’t know the real reason for that until we meet the Maker. In the short run, though, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. Take advantage of “what’s in front of your face”.
On the Net:
Interested in the idea of the dark of the year? Search an article on this site entitled: Darkness. View more of Kathryn’s work at: www.atravelersview.org
Copyright©2010, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved
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