“I don’t think we’re going we’re going to get much of a fall this year.”
I remembered those words, overheard at a checkout counter, as I walked along the streets of my town. Part of me had agreed. Although it was October, summer like temperatures mixed with sunshine and rain, meant green leaves and growing plants were still going strong. It made me a little sad. I like fall.
Well, finally, here we are in November, and fall has firmly fallen. The trees are practically vibrating with color. Yellows, reds and oranges sway in the breezes at the tops of the trees, while colored leaves gracefully waft from branch to sidewalk. Oh, how I love to watch them fall. It looks like a sacred, solitary dance done just for me.
Much has been written about fall – praising the weather, the nip in the air, the color of the sky and leaves – the change of seasons. I think I love fall so much, in part, because it dares you not to notice. I admire that kind of audacity. It’s so “in-your-face”. How can I miss the changes?
The experience of sitting in a chair in the middle of a forest, or walking down a country road this time of year envelops our senses. Praises for his endless creativity in nature and his limitless color palette effortlessly bubble up from our hearts.
It seems that God himself knows how vital outward signs are to his people. Certainly a mere change of one season to another could happen without all the fanfare of smells and color we see and experience this time of year. But Our Father wants us to notice.
He wants us to see the beautiful outward signs of the season, hoping it will lead us to meditate on the truth that all things are passing, everything transforms and evolves. But there’s something else the Lord wants us to grasp too. He wants us to allow these outward signs to turn us inward, and to recognize the eternal truth that lies beneath all creation.
God is present in everything he created.
We live in a world of signs and symbols that are beautiful on their own, but find their true meaning in what lies beneath. Things like tracing the sign of the cross, the rite of Baptism, or reciting wedding vows…they all us with wonder, seeing the beauty and grace of the rites and prayers.
But that’s only the surface.
Under the cover of our words and movement lives the sacred, unseen reality of God’s presence. The words and ritual motions can change and evolve, but this hidden truth does not. God is with us.
Yes, we have eyes to see. With them, we see the beauty, wonder and gift that creation in all the world holds.
But we also have eyes of faith, and with them, we can perceive so much more. With them, we sense the eternal presence of God, living and effective, just beneath what we see.
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