Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reflections of a sacramental nature

Changing Seasons by Regina Gudelis

The local weekly newspaper, the Concord Journal, invites the faith leaders in town to rotate authorship of a column entitled Voices of Faith.  This week was my turn and for my article I collected some reflections I've written on the change of seasons and pieced them together under the rubric of a sacramental approach to the world around us.

Reflections of a Sacramental Nature 

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the sacraments - he got so excited and ran into a hollow in his tree and came back holding some acorns, an owl feather and a ribbon he found. And I just smiled and said, "Yes, dear, you understand everything imparts His grace." (St. Francis of Assisi) 

My faith tradition is sacramental. Catholics believe that the presence, the power and the grace of God are mediated through such as water, oil, bread and wine, touch, gesture and word. That God is present in our sacramental rites rests on our belief that God’s presence permeates the whole of creation. In that spirit, I share with you some reflections on the seasons’ changes that are ours these weeks and days… 

Indeed, everything imparts God’s grace…

September: The weather's been turning my head and heart from grieving summer's end, teasing me to an affair with autumn, not yet quite here. This season between seasons sidles up and takes my hand, walking me from a warm summer's sun to shorter days, a cooler clime: time to ready a soul for fall's hues and hints of winter. 

I take this walk each year when all paths lead to the place where summer is no longer and winter's arms beckon an embrace. I've walked this way so many times: looking, hoping for, finding spring's promise to courage me down the road... 

Early October: I offer you thanks, Lord, for your divine imagination, your playful wisdom shaping earth, its seasons and their beauty. Who first knew your plan for shorter days and autumn chill to sap the chlorophyll from summer’s leafy, shady boughs? Or your gift of longer nights, exposing hidden hues on every branch and your hand, bared, waving blessings on October's breeze? I see revealed in summer's loss, in each tree's seasoned death, a glory of gold and russets rustling amid purple patches, all crimson crowned. I see fall's light filtered through leaves aglow from within: all so simple, as if your hand, divine, had not designed it all. 

When my hope's summered green fades, Lord, paint my soul in autumn hues, illumined with light whose only source is you. I offer you my thanks for every leaf that sighs, falls, and pads the path I walk, a wanderer in your grace... 

Mid-October: There's something different about the sunshine, these fine fall days. Old Sol, still 'way up there in the sky, assumes an autumnal angle, warming an October glow on branches brushed to beauty: leaves alive in a light no summer's green could ever match. The light's above but I'd swear the leaves all glow within. In my fantasy, the trees are still warm with sun soaked in from August skies and only now returning heavenward: a psalmody of color, light and shadows. And can it be that in patches this light rises in praise of its source? Driving down arbored roads it seems the glow is here and there but not everywhere and, well, of course - it's the evergreen backdrop gives the shade for the show of fall's finery. 

Your light's above and about me and from every angle shines in every season. And your light's within, deep inside to warm me from my depths. I join in the prayers of trees and leaves and lift to you a psalm of praise for the beauty you are within and all around me… 

November: Every year (and on one night, as impossible as that seems) the trees quietly conspire and, all together, shake off their faded frocks, draping a coppery mantle on the ground below. They stand, then, bare against the chill of November's late afternoon, darkened skies. They stand still, without a hint of a shiver, their branched arms stretching strong, braced for the weight of snow and ice, their winter’s armor and their December sparkle. 

Would that I were bold enough to stand so naked before you, Lord, my arms stretched long to reach the warmth of your winter's love. I pray for a deep-rooted trust that even now an April waits to melt to May when leaves grow green again… 

Yes, indeed, everything imparts God’s grace… 

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