Seasonal Reflection: Autumn, 2014

Reflecting on Peace

 

The season of Autumn is upon us. Temperatures are dropping. Leaves are changing from green to an array of vibrant colors before falling to the earth. Days are shortening and nights are lengthening. It is a time for nature to wind down and rest, to begin the process of restoration for the next year.

Ironically, for us humans, Autumn is often a time of increased activity. After a hot summer that may have stifled our energy, we perk up and try to cram into one season a life-time of parades, marches, rallies and vigils, festivals and street fairs, concerts and lectures. On top of that we begin our frenetic preparation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

If only we could take a lesson from nature! Or do we? Maybe it’s no accident that in this season of contrasts between human acceleration and nature’s deceleration, we celebrate the feasts of All Saints and All Souls, two holy days that remind us of those who have gone before us, who have made the passage from this life to the next through a process of slowing down and being transformed to enrich the soil for the next generation of saintly souls. The Saints and Souls that we commemorate are examples for us of how to live and how to die. They teach us the virtue of doing, but also the virtue of letting go. They assure us that the quiet times are fruitful times and thus necessary blessings. They encourage us to step back and allow God to refresh us and then, in turn, to allow the same for others.

 

 



Prayer

“Prayer for Autumn Days” by Unknown Author

God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground, our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. We always need to recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all this, we are grateful.  

 



Suggested Actions

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    - Sit with the reflection above and the prayer. Use them as an opportunity to take a moment to stop all the busy-ness of your mind and body and simply rest in God.

    - Sit with someone who cannot rush about, an elderly or sick person. Just be with him or her. Talk and listen or, if comfortable, sit in silence; experience each other’s presence in love and patience.

    - Select a favorite Saint or Soul. Spend some time recalling his or her life and what it means to you today. How can you emulate him or her in your own life?

    - Observe Autumn, the cooling temperatures, the changes in light and color, the rustle of leaves on the ground, the tree branches as they transition from full-leaf to bare. What lessons is God teaching you through nature at this time of year?

    - Remember even Jesus took time to get away. Use your quiet times to reinvigorate yourself for the important work of peacemaking.

     


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