Once again, a new season is upon us. Autumn, like each of the four seasons, brings opportunities for God to communicate to us through His creation. A chance for us to ponder anew what the Almighty wants to teach us in this fresh moment, and to consider our ways of responding to life.
I shared this poem in 2021, and feel it is worth repeating. I encourage you to read it slowly and meditatively. Let yourself be drawn into the words and linger with any that capture your attention. Use it as a way to consider your ways at this point in your life.
AUTUMN PRAYER OF ACCEPTANCE
Eternal One who circles the seasons with ease, teach me about Earth’s natural cycle of turning from one season to another. Remind me often of how she opens herself to the dying and rising rotations, the coming and the going of each of the four seasons. Open me today to the teaching of the season of autumn.
When I accept only the beautiful and reject the tattered, torn parts of who I am, when I treat things that are falling apart as my enemies,
walk me among the dying leaves, let them tell me about their power to energize Earth’s soil by their decomposition and their formation of enriching humus.
When I fear the loss of my youthfulness and refuse to accept the reality of aging,
turn my face to the brilliant colors of autumn trees, open my spirit to the mellow resonance of autumn sunsets and the beauty of the changing land.
When I refuse to wait with the mystery of the unknown, when I struggle to keep control rather than to let life evolve,
wrap me in the darkening days of autumn and encourage me to wait patiently for clarity and vision as I live with uncertainty and insecurity.
When I grow tired of using my own harvest of gifts to benefit others,
take me to the autumn fields where Earth shares the bounty of summer and allows her lands to surrender their abundance.
When I resist efforts to warm a relationship that has been damaged by my coldness,
let me feel the first hard freeze of autumn’s breath and see the death it brings to greening, growing things.
When I neglect to care for myself and become totally absorbed in life’s hurried pace,
give me courage to slow down as I see how Earth slows down and allows her soil to rest in silent, fallow space.
When I fight the changes of unwanted, unsought events and struggle to keep things just as they are instead of letting go,
place me on the wings of traveling birds flying south, willing to leave their nests of comfort as they journey to another destination.
When I fail to say “thank you” and see only what is not, instead of what is,
Lead me to gather all the big and little aspects of my life that have blessed me with comfort, hope, love, inner healing, strength, and courage.
Maker of the seasons, thank you for all that autumn teaches me. Change my focus so that I see not only what I am leaving behind, but also the harvest and the plentitude that my life holds. May my heart grow freer and my life more peaceful as I resonate with, and respond to, the many teachings this season offers to me.
— Sister Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.
A Scripture passage that was very meaningful to me in a difficult season of life many years ago has been speaking to me again. Encouraging me to “Let God Be God,” and to trust Him through eyes of faith. I think it pairs nicely with this poem.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
Photo credit: Cathy Raney, Hot Springs Village, Arkansas