By Jeannette Doran
While every season has its own unique beauty, this time of year
overwhelms one with splendor. Surrounded by fall's harvest of rich
color, the taste of pumpkin pie and fresh apples, the gentle warmth of
wind rustling the orange and red leaves, our lives are enriched with
the fruit of the seed.
In beholding the beauty of the tiny seed brought to fruition, we are invited to look at its journey.
Perhaps as tulip and daffodil bulbs are fall-planted in the rich soil, soon to bear the depth of winter's cold, or, as the spring seeds are folded into the earth after the last spring frost awaiting their growth, we develop a longing for God. There is a period of darkness amidst cold dampness before the
tiny green sprout emerges one morning. This is like our own lives.
Living in Iowa close to corn fields, this reality is clarified.
Since this year's floods delayed the spring planting for many farmers,
once the furrowed fields were neatly sown in long rows, we watched and
waited for the first sign of green. This did come about after more
periods of threatening rain storms, hot, humid days and warm sunlight.
While the corn this year was not as "high as the sky on the fourth of
July," still a few weeks later we watched vast fields sway in the wind
like waves of the ocean. Now the tall stalks have turned rusty beige,
a drying out time before the harvest begins. Some years the farmer
works day and night to beat the coming frost.
Our garden has nurtured us these last two months with juicy
tomatoes, green beans, butternut squash and a wealth of broccoli that
came from a packet of little seeds. This year, a profusion of colorful
flowers graced our land; it seemed every corner one turned, we
delighted in a petite blue cornflower or a bright red rose. Such is
the beauty of creation. We need only to open our eyes to behold God's
As we remember the seed's journey, we are reminded of our soul's
path to deeper delights. We believe in the indwelling of the Blessed
Trinity. Through God's gifts of gentle awareness of this holy presence
we desire more. We experience long periods of darkness and emptiness.
Gradually, we find deep in our being a tiny light and warmth that
begins to emerge after much waiting. As the psalmist teaches, the Lord
delights in our waiting in love. Our hunger for God grows in the
dark, and we come to understand that, after long spaces of solitude
with quiet prayer, we will come to delight in God's holy presence and
will learn to carry this with us into our daily lives. As the earthly
seed comes to fruition in the soil's depth, so our spiritual growth is
nurtured in the night. St. John of the Cross writes to us of our
spiritual fruition, with this attentive waiting, in this stanza of his poem, The Dark Night:
"O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
The Lover with His beloved,
Transforming the beloved in her Lover."