Today is celebrated as All Saints day in the Catholic Church. I saw a beautiful anecdote in the website of Catholic Bishops Conference of India regarding the same feast. It goes like this,
A pumpkin story: “What is it like to be a Christian saint?” “It is like being a Halloween pumpkin. God picks you from the field, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out the yucky stuff. He removes the pulp of impurity and injustice and seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light of holiness inside you to shine for the entire world to see.” This is the Christian idea behind the carved pumpkins during the Halloween season.
This anecdote helps us to drive home the message of today’s feast. But I would like to dig a little deeper into the anecdote and put an alternative viewpoint. I will go line by line to analyse the anecdote.
Each one of us are equated to pumpkin. God picks you from the field, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you. I am fine till here. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out the yucky stuff. He removes the pulp of impurity and injustice and seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. I do have the problem in these lines. The Yucky stuff is connected to the pulp of impurity and injustice. So they are removed. But if they are removed, does that thing remain pumpkin anymore? [Over the centuries, many in the catholic church considered body as evil and yucky stuff would have been the body. They would have to be thrown away. Thankfully, today we have a much more positive understanding of body. God became human; he saw the beauty of humanity (being human). We also speaks of the resurrection of the body, and body as the temple of Holy Spirit].
My problem with the anecdote is that it points to a spirituality which removes much of the essentials of pumpkins so that God can work. I feel God created each one of us as unique, beautiful creatures and God works in us (even within our brokenness).
Pumpkin can give glory to God by being a pumpkin, not a glowing item/any other vegetable. Thus each one of called to a life of holiness and beauty in and through our unique identities, not by throwing away your identity of being a human.
[To be a little defensive on my part: If some of you feel, I was too picky here… definitely I was, but I think it is not completely senseless]