This weekend sees the clock go back an hour and heralds the beginning of the season of dark mornings and short evenings, it’s not my favourite time of year. Yet a walk in St. Catherine’s Park these days is pure joy surrounded by the rich autumnal colours of leaves in the last phase of their lives before they fall to the earth. Shades of tan and brown and even of shining gold bedeck the trees before the sleep of winter takes hold. The woodland walk in the park is sheer magic these days, if a little perilous underfoot. Looking upward through the canopy of changing hues and rich tones it’s easy to sense the hand of the creator at work. The wonder of nature in this most ordinary of places gives a glimpse, an intimation of the one who created it all. It’s a wonderful place to sit on one of the strategically placed benches and luxuriate in the sheer glory of it all.
God says to me: “Come in! Do come in! I’ve painted these woods gold and brown and yellow just for you…Come in and swish your feet among the crisp fallen leaves. I’ve created that sound just for you too…Look up…look down…look all around. Listen… smell… touch… taste. It’s all for you. All!…Walk around if you wish…or stand in one place…or sit on a log…or even kneel on the carpet of leaves….I know you are busy doing all kinds of good things, but I hope you can afford a few minutes just to enjoy this special season….Do come in, my Beloved, and just be…with me.”
Sr. Melannie Svoboda (Sisters of Notre Dame)
The cycle of nature which takes us from the wonder of spring abundant with colour and new life, through the balmy days of summer and on to autumn days and winter, contains a pattern of dying and rising that the Lord seems to have built in to all of his creation. Bare branches and colourless fields and gardens will in due course give rise to new life. Each season has its own charm – even bleak winter days give us cosy moments around the fire.
It’s no wonder that November days turn our thoughts towards the dead, creation all around us is going to sleep. We know that spring will come again and the quiet miracle of growth and beauty will once more surround us, we cherish that same hope for our loved ones who have gone ahead of us; that they too will experience a rebirth to eternal life in Christ Jesus. Our Church year begins in the darkest time of year, the beginning of a journey from darkness into light – Advent invites us to approach the days of greatest darkness in December with an anticipation and hope in Christ, the light of the world, who dispels all darkness.
Fr. Philip Curran