Blue. Wide blue skies. That is all we’ve had here in Wisconsin for the last few days. The earth is brown and rich, and gardens remain colourful and attractive. The air is crisp and invigorating. Yet a new fragrance is on its way. Autumn has fallen upon us. Soon, things will begin to change. Autumn has a way to come to the trees and strip them down. But the wind will not scatter the leaves until they have delighted and amused us with their many colours.
Autumn is my favourite time of the year. It is time for football, collecting bright coloured leaves, carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples and celebrating Thanksgiving. For many, autumn means going back to school, settling into a routine and working at achieving new goals. The autumn season falls on the ordinary time of the liturgical calendar, and there is something remarkable about this liturgical season. As I’ve said before, it is ideal to “let the common places and the simple things speak to us about the beauty of our God” during the ordinary time.
There is something very graceful in the rhythm of autumn. As the days pass, God helps us to grapple with change. He calls us to relinquish control and to surrender. As things quickly change, we adjust to conventional and everyday tasks. As days grow cold outside, we learn to channel our inner creativity. As leaves change and fall, we hit the books and turn their pages. As colours fade and things decay, we create, play games and exchange ideas over a cup of hot cocoa or a good coffee. As we walk and take it all in, God widens our horizons, transforms our imagination and invites us to prayer.
In all of these things, we can seek and find God. And as we find God, we learn to be more reverent and thankful. To me, autumn is all about becoming more grateful and living out of that gratitude. Indeed, thanksgiving is the very attitude necessary to celebrate and live out the Eucharist. Autumn is a reminder that every day is Thanksgiving. Every hour is an opportunity to rejoice in the elegance of a tree or the taste of a pumpkin pie. All moments are sacred when we allow God to sanctify us through them. As we witness the beauty of the world, we are drawn to God, who is Beauty. God draws us to himself through all that is true, good and beautiful. Timothy Cardinal Dolan said it best: “The Incarnation goes on in the true, the good, and the beautiful.”
Autumn is officially here. It is good to take the time to taste the coffee and pray through the Psalms. Autumn is the perfect time to let every ordinary activity teach us to love extraordinarily. Beauty has a soothing way to invite us to serve the most vulnerable in our communities. We ought to let her.
Things will soon wither and fade. As days grow cold, let us huddle around those with bleak outlooks and frosty hearts. Let us warm the lives of the lonely and the outcast. In this autumn, let us seek and find God in all things. Let us be God’s soothing presence and audacious love to all peoples. As Beauty falls upon us, let us share it with the world.