Seasonal Reflection Fall, 2016

Reflecting on Peace

Happy Second New Year! Second New Year you ask? Yes, I answer, and there’s still one more to come. First, there’s the secular calendar New Year on January 1st. Third, there’s the liturgical calendar New Year on the first Sunday of Advent. In between, there’s the Second New Year in September when life really begins anew after the Summer. People who were able to get away return home from vacations. Schools re-open. All the activities that were on hiatus in July and August start up again. Suddenly we’re inundated with meetings, conferences, lectures, commemorative events, parades, and more. Have to get it all in before the holidays and Winter cold!

It can be invigorating. It can be productive. It can also be exhausting, and it can be stressful. What of these rhythms of life? Are they good? Are they necessary? Are they avoidable?

It’s certainly nice to have the chance at a new start. If we’re entering into it after a period of down-time, we can bring to it new energy and new creativity. A new year can mean new opportunities, new encounters, new learning, and new experiences. But a new year can also mean leaving behind old comforts and old companions. It can mean new unknowns and new anxieties.

Let us look at nature at this time of year to get a handle on how we should be approaching this Second New Year. We might say it begins with the Autumnal Equinox when the hours of day equal the hours of night. At the Autumnal Equinox, day and night are in balance. The equinox offers us equal times to be active and to rest. It teaches us about balance in other more symbolic ways, too. For example, there is both light and dark in our lives. Can we try to keep them in balance? The Autumnal Equinox begins the season of Fall in the northern hemisphere. Leaves take on an explosion of beautiful colors. Temperatures cool. Can we celebrate the diversity of colors in our world, in humanity? Can we reduce the heat of conflict at home, at work, in our neighborhoods and country, on the campaign trail and across borders?

Can we also take a lesson from scripture? Jesus certainly knew about balance, about engaging with the crowds and retreating into solitude and prayer. He certainly experienced the light of friendships, parties, and ministry and the dark of rejection, torture, and crucifixion.

Let this Second New Year be a time of balance, a Happy New Year for you and yours!



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

Prayer excerpted from Prayer for Autumn Days by Sr. Joyce Rupp, OSM - full prayer available at

Suggested Actions

  • - Identify one action you will do to promote peace and justice at this time of turmoil in our country and world. Consider the election climate, the tensions between police and African-American communities, the refugee crisis, or anything else that calls to you as a peacemaker. Petition, learn more, teach others, join a march or vigil, call or write your political representatives and the candidates, submit an op-ed to news and social media, make a charitable donation of time or money.

    - Set aside time to reflect and pray. Use the reflection and prayer above or any other that help you balance your action with contemplation.

    - Celebrate the Second New Year with family and friends, doing something just for fun.

Reflection Archives

2016:   Summer  Easter  Lent  Ordinary Time   2015: Christmas 
Advent  Ordinary Time   Easter   Lent     2014:    Christmas   Advent   Autumn       


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