Saturday, November 3, 2012

All Saints vs Reformation Day

from WikiPaintings
On October 31st, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. For many, this marks the beginning of the Reformation, and the end of Roman dominion in the western church. Because October 31st marked the beginning of Protestantism, it is celebrated by many as Reformation Day.

It is fine for those of us not in fellowship with the Holy See to celebrate what we see as the end of many abuses perpetrated by the Church of Rome. Yet, there is an even more important holiday that we should not forget to celebrate. For October 31st is the eve of All Saints. Last year, I wrote a blog post commending the celebration of Halloween over the celebration of Harvest Festivals, since in the celebration of All Saints we celebrate "the holistic communion between all the saints extended throughout history and geography - the catholic communion."

This year, for the same reason, I want to commend the celebration of All Saints over the celebration of Reformation Day. As I said, it is fine to celebrate what we see as being gained in the Ninety-Five Theses, but we should not loose sight of the fact that Protestantism is an expression of a faith older and larger than it. The final reality we should all point to is the eschatological reality of union in Christ. The Church, despite her broken outward appearance, is spiritually one. To celebrate the communion of Saints is thus a much more noble thing than to celebrate any particular expression of that communion. Especially, it is greater than celebrating an event which, however important, was also responsible for the most serious visible fracturing of that Church since the Great Schism.

Therefore, with all the Saints let us give glory to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for the Passion and Resurrection of His Son by which we have been called from all peoples into one family.