In her book “Growing Seasons” Arlene Bernstein uses gardening to help her work through her grief of losing a child.
The death of a loved one or friend can offer profound challenges to all of us. In time, we each find our own way of coping with the situations that may affect our lives.
Reflecting on the miracles of nature that we see around us daily – but particularly in autumn – we are reminded that the Garden is a place where the Glory of God is revealed. It is also a place as a result of much care, love and tenderness where the cycle of life reoccurs springtime after springtime; it is where we see dying and rising.
We read in Isaiah 61:11
“For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations”
and in James 1:21 we reflect
“Accept and submit to the word which has been planted in you and can save your souls”
Thinking about the extracts from Isaiah and James and autumn life cycles, we are reminded about the two great Feasts we celebrate this month of November, All Saints and All Souls: both are a journey we make as we live the call to Holiness outlined by Pope Francis in Gaudete Et Exsultate – on the call to Holiness in today’s world.
Unlike the saints and all those brave, heroic men and women who fought in wars and are still fighting for their countries, we may never be asked to give our life for another but Catherine McAuley reminds us that preparation for death and the afterlife is in our daily living.
We read in “The Prophet of Mercy” by Sister Angela Bolster an extract from “Thoughts from the Spiritual Conferences of Catherine”
“Let us take one day only at a time
merely making resolve for tomorrow.
Thus we may hope to go on,
taking short, careful steps, not great strides…
Each day is a step we take towards Eternity.” (T41)
For Catherine, her death “was a Journey into Mercy from fear and apprehension to serenity, trust and peace” (Sister Angela Bolster in “Catherine McAuley – Heroic and Holy”).
Where am I on that Journey?
What is it that I fear?
Let us rejoice in Catherine’s memory and her future among the saints.