Leafy falls fell

This week's reflection is written by
V. Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, Provincial.

Leafy falls fell all around my open-eyed awe of death.”

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One wonders what the writer has in mind with that final line of a poem on Autumn. Here are my thoughts about it.

Our long, hot and humid summer will soon yield to the crisp and refreshing days of autumn. With the cooler days and longer nights will come the incredibly beautiful colors of the season, with every tree vying with every other tree to show off its red or yellow or orange cloak of leaves. If you have ever been lucky enough to view an autumn forest from, say, the hills of the Skyline Drive in Virginia, you have an idea of how beautifully varied Joseph’s coat of many colors must have been. Fall is simply lovely!

Yet, it is a dying season! A cold dark winter inevitably follows.

For me this is a parable for how we Christians ought to assess death. Because of our faith in the Risen Jesus and in our own bodily resurrection, death is never the last word for us, even though on the surface it may indeed appear to be so. It is, rather, the door through which the winter of death yields to the spring of new life! We believe that. It is our faith. It is our hope.

My mother’s mother was born and raised in Russia. Grandma used to tell me that Russians cry at a child’s birth but throw a big party at that same person’s death. Birth brings us into this valley of tears while death is our real birth into the joy and happiness of everlasting life! For this same reason we celebrate the day of a saint’s death, not the day of their birth.

Enjoy the beautiful fall days that lie ahead, the awesome beauty that accompanies a season’s dying. See in this season a parable for what death ought to be for us who believe. Autumn succumbs to winter but only for a time. Spring always follows. So, too, us.

Leafy falls fell all around my open-eyed awe of death.”