A change of seasons
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
It is autumn, a season unique in the variety and sometimes brilliance of colors seen around us. While this can be said of spring and summer too, those seasons reflect the burst of new life. Autumn, on the other hand, shows us the beauty in life matured.
So too with the cycle of human life. The springtime of our life begins when God breathes our soul into being at conception, enlivening the cells that will grow into our bodies. Our ‘summer’ begins with rapid growth in childhood and transitions into interior growth as an adult. It is a time to seek truth and store up love, for we can only understand love to the extent that we have served Truth Himself. Then, by the autumn of our life, our eyes sparkle with wisdom and our skin is weathered with experience. A lifetime of smiles are etched upon our face and our hair takes on the silver of precious metal or purity of whitened snow. The quickness of mind wanes and eyesight dims, leaving us with just that needed in this stage of life: those stores of God’s truth and His eyes of love.
Once so close to God as a child, we now can take comfort in knowing the inevitable winter ahead is the final step into eternity with Him. In this way, the autumn of life is a time of letting go.
A shroud has no pockets.
As we move into November, early winter, the liturgical seasons of our Church change too. This transition from late autumn to early winter begins with celebrations of the solemnities of Allhallowtide: All Hallows Eve, All Hallows (Saints) day, and All Souls day. Throughout the month, we pray for the souls of our loved ones who have passed before us. The Church Penitent, the souls in purgatory, are being purged of all that they clung to in their hearts while still on earth. Our prayers should benefit us as well as them by encouraging us to be rid of all attachments. In God’s beautiful Providence, ridding ourselves of attachments in this life frees us to experience His love more fully now—a foretaste of our future eternity with Him. This detachment is ongoing through life, and we can never assume to have ‘mastered’ it for it is only by His grace that we can even desire it let alone be freed.
We brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
(1 Timothy 6:7)
This can be difficult due to the fond memories represented by items purchased in travels, received as a gift, etc. Some things also represent the past dream we had for ourselves, the image once held of ourselves and our future. These are symbols of our memories. Yet our accumulation of attachments to these symbols leaves less room in our heart to offer thanksgiving to God who provided each. If we streamline our life in every season, maintaining just that needed to live our God-given vocation and purpose to His glory, we will discover His will for the present while also stand in awe of His care of us in the past.
Do not fear when a man becomes rich, when the wealth of his house grows great. At his death he will not take along anything, his glory will not go down after him.
Ultimately, attachments manifest from fear and fear from wounds. Fear fulfills what it creates, and it ‘looks’ different in each season of life. With aging can come fear of loss of faculties and humiliation that others will see their fragility. These fears can manifest in a variety of ways including isolation from family, friends, or events; excessively controlling behaviors or perfectionism; or appearing more stressed or confused than usual. In all seasons of life, it is important that we not only lift up others but also allow ourselves to be lifted up by others. And don’t expect perfect compatibility with family and friends! The diversity of personalities, strengths and weaknesses create the environment for growth and maturity. Learning to love them, and yourself, in those inevitable moments of strife and conflict will bring you to the peace and happiness you seek in Christ Jesus. Iron sharpens iron as the Proverb speaks (Proverbs 27:17).
Smile at each other. Smile at your husband, your wife, your children; be happy with your children. It doesn’t matter who it is, smile.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊
(Image from Pixabay)
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