My annual Halloween piece is up at Catholic Match:
If you ever explore some of the old churches in Europe, or look over art from the old days, you’ll notice quite a few skulls.
Some of which are even attached to skeletons. They show up in some of the most unexpected places: on clocks, or in Cathedrals, for instance, or in the famous painting ‘The Ambassadors’, which features a distorted skull that only comes into perspective when viewed from the lower left. These are often supplemented by various grotesqueries and monsters decorating the church façade or capering about the pictures.
The message of all of this is the same; “don’t be complacent, but remember your death and what might await you beyond. That night of death is full of terrible things just waiting to grab hold of you, so take care before you find yourself venturing out into it.”
In other words, Christians have been doing Halloween, and doing it properly, for a long time. The macabre is as much a part of our heritage as anything else; it is the other side to the hope we have in Christ.
Therefore, the common call of Christians of the past was Memento Mori: Remember Death. As the prophet wrote in his book, “In all thy works, remember your last end, and thou shalt never sin,” and “Remember that death is not slow.” (Sirach 7:40, 14:12).
Read the rest here, and Happy Halloween!