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Embers and Equinox

A reflection by Br. Will White, CMJ

Happy Fall! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox arrived on Wednesday at 2:21pm, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. The specificity of that time cracks me up! I love the signs of autumn and as if right on cue, the air began chilling this week and the leaves outside my home began changing and falling. The Church gives us signs of autumn as well. Fall Ember Days were this past week's Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Ember Days, which are offered four times a year as the seasons change, are a traditional time of fasting, prayer, and reflection. These transitional spaces in the seasons are important and offer us concrete opportunities to look at what is going on around us with fresh eyes. 

Growing up in southwest Florida I saw very little change seasonally, but my mother's family all live in New England and every time I had the chance to visit around fall and winter I couldn't help but notice the 'buzz' in the air as every blade of grass seemed to change in some magical way. Learning to see things in a new way is very much a part of our shared spiritual journey. Jesus saw God in everything and everyone. This "nature mysticism" was also beautifully modeled by Sts. Francis and Clare. As Richard Rohr shares,

"[Francis'] love for creation drove him back into the needs of the city, a pattern very similar to Jesus’ own movement between desert solitude (contemplation) and small-town healing ministry (action). The Gospel transforms us by putting us in touch with that which is much more constant and satisfying, literally the “ground of our being,” which has much more “reality” to it, rather than theological concepts or ritualization of reality. Daily cosmic events in the sky and on the earth are the Reality above our heads and beneath our feet every minute of our lives: a continuous sacrament, signs of God’s universal presence in all things."

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014)

I invite you to take a few moments each day to reflect on the "signs of God's universal presence" around you. Do you feel connected to God through those signs? Do you feel a call to action somewhere in your life?

O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all creation. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer thanks and praise in all the holy names of God, amen.

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