Today is the Solemnity of All Saints. Traditionally, it is celebrated on November 1, although in the Roman Catholic tradition it is uncertain why November 1 was chosen as the date for this in the first place. Possibly, according to the Venerable Bede, Pope Boniface IV (he was Pope during the early 7th century) had gathered 28 wagon loads of the bones of Christian martyrs and re-interred them in the ground under the Pantheon in Rome then re-dedicated the site as a shrine. Bede said this was done "that the memory of all the saints might in the future be honored in the place which had formerly been dedicated to the worship not of gods but of demons" (Quote taken from On the Calculation of Time).
The fact that it falls on a Saturday this year is interesting in that is it not a Holy Day of Obligation; normally, however, it is.
One view of the origins of this Feast came from the tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of specific individuals on the anniversary of their martyrdom. When the Roman Empire increased the numbers of Christians that were killed during the latter part of the Empire's existence, local dioceses instituted a common feast day to ensure that none of those who died for their Faith were forgotten.
It was Pope Gregory III who "officialized" the celebration of All Saints when he consecrated a chapel in St. Peter's Basilica and dedicated it to the martyrs. Originally restricted to the Diocese of Rome, Pope Gregory IV extended the Feast to the entire church and ordered it be celebrated on November 1.
(The source of the above information can be found here.)
The other night I was watching an episode of the PBS series Frontline entitled "The War Briefing." Basically, it is a report of the war we are currently fighting in Afghanistan, the soldiers on the ground who are getting hammered by the Taliban, and the hiding places they have in Pakistan. One of the segments followed a rifle company from the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division (known as the "Big Red One") who are manning a combat base on the Afghan-Pakistani border. These guys are attacked daily, they see air strikes happen near and around them, and they are also attempting to work with and help local villagers near them. But they also have to attempt to deal with Taliban operations, which breeds much of the combat that they see. My inspiration for making the video was just in watching what they deal with on a daily basis. Plus, they are located on high ground with mountains all around them. I figure that they need as much help as they can get, and prayer is always good. The above video is, in an indirect way, a prayer for these men.
Comments are welcome.