An autumn reflection
It’s been a busy week here at U.S. Catholic, as we successfully made the deadline for our November issue. We’ve been busy keeping an eye on the latest news, and in the face of the death of Troy Davis, the latest stats on poverty, and the ongoing discussions about our nation’s economic climate, it’s easy to get wrapped up in negativity or to start pointing angry fingers of blame.
In everything that has happened, we may have forgotten that the season of autumn has officially arrived.
This fall Friday, let’s take a moment to step back and center ourselves. This is not to diminish the importance of the tough issues facing our nation and world today, nor to discourage civil and reasoned discussion on controversial topics in our country’s current headlines. Rather, let us take a moment and try to locate God in our lives. (Perhaps God is evident to you in the changing of the seasons.) Let that moment shape how we will react to all that has happened this week. How will we respond, as individuals and as a nation, to the fact that our country executed a man for a crime he possibly did not commit, and to the reality that more than 46 million of our sisters and brothers are living in poverty?
The following is from the book A Grateful Heart (Conari Press, 2002) edited by M.J. Ryan. Though intended as a book of prayers to be shared over an evening meal, my mind immediately went to this book to search for some words of reflection for autumn, as the book is divided into prayers and poems by season. Here is a Native American prayer from the "Fall" selections:
O Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me! I am small and weak, I need your
strength and wisdom.
Let Me Walk In Beauty, and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make My Hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make Me Wise so that I may understand the
things you have taught my people.
Let Me Learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I Seek Strength, not to be greater than my
brother, but to fight my greatest enemy—myself
Make Me Always Ready to come to with you
Clean hands and straight eyes.
So When Life Fades, as the fading sunset,
My spirit may come to you without shame.