This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1 -- Feast of Ruth the Matriarch

In addition to being the Feast of All Saints, it is the Feast of  Deborah the Prophetess, Rachel the Matriarch, and Ruth the Matriarch.  That makes it a sort of Women's Day in the Hagiomajor Calendar.  Celebrate accordingly. 

Moab's in purple
Ruth was a Moabite, a member of one of those neighboring polytheistic nations.  The Moabites were especially loyal to a god named Chemosh.  Yet when Ruth married a Hebrew named Mahlon, she abandoned Chemosh, Baal, Molech, and all the other gods for the Creator, the God of Abraham and Isaac.  Unfortunately for her, times were tough and her husband, her father-in-law, and her brother-in-law all died.  Her sister-in-law, Orpah, headed back for Moab (and presumably a pantheon of gods) while her mother-in-law, Naomi, packed up for Jerusalem.  My guess is that in times of drought or blight, it is easier for widows to survive on charity in a city, though without institutionalized government support, they were heavily dependent on the kindness of strangers. Naomi suggested that Ruth might have better luck in Moab than in Jerusalem, but Ruth answered:

Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. (Ruth 1:16-17)
Chemosh; Got no use for you, dude

 That's some loyalty, right there.  Loyalty to family, to clan, to God.  And it paid off.  Ruth was out gleaning the fields in the gloaming of the day when she caught the eye of a materially comfortable fellow named Boaz.  Ruth and Boaz married, taking Naomi with them of course.  The House of David (and thus the genealogy of Jesus) and be traced to Ruth, making her a big deal for Christians as well as Jews.  For some, she's a symbol of the conversion process -- salvation is open to all.  For others, she's a symbol of the virtue of loyalty and familial ties.  Still for others, she is a link in the chain that connects Judaism and Christianity as houses of worship in the same holy district. 

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