By Jeannette Doran
Fall is a time of fulfillment, joy and gratitude. We see the fruit of our labors and rejoice with thanksgiving. Over the past year we have worked towards the fulfillment of our desires. We have worked the land with firm hope for the abundant harvest. We begin to see the beauty of the countryside rich with vivid color. We feel the cool breeze; delight in the golden fields, orange sunsets, the wheat and corn waving in the wind. We remember our toil of the past year, our times of furrowing the fields and sowing the seeds. We are grateful for having given time to pruning, weeding and watering during the summer times of rapid growth. As fall comes we gather the harvest and store for the months ahead. Carefully we collect the seeds for next year’s planting. We prune and clear the land for winter’s long sleep. Seeing the fulfillment and fruit of our toils we gather together in thanksgiving giving joyful thanks to God and one another.
Our preparation for autumn’s fruit is a reflection in our spiritual lives. We work our inner furrowing in the land of our souls and we carve out spaces of growth towards a deeper intimacy with our God. All phases of growth are necessary. The desert periods bring rest, deep silence and darkness. These times ready the land of the earth and our souls for the furrowing of the fields and the seed sowing. In the spiritual realm we till the barren soil of our souls through vocal prayer, spiritual reading and reflection and periods of silent prayer. We spend time sitting still waiting for God’s work in the darkness and silence. All of these works eventually bring about the fulfillment of our desires. It may take a lifetime but we see as time deals gently with us so does our Beloved richly reward us. In our soul’s growth our inner being needs furrowing; we want to allow the Spirit to till the soil of our souls, to prepare spaces for seed sowing. We plow as we clear our minds of negative or fearful thought and begin to plant the tiny seeds of faith, compassion, hope and joy. These are watered with God’s grace sprinkled throughout the moments of our days. These seeds will grow and blossom as we nurture them. Our Carmelite rule invites us to meditate day and night on the Word of God and encourages us that a holy thought will guard us from all harm. We grow in faith as we focus on the truths of our faith such as the reality that the Creator of our universe dwells in the center of our being. Deep within our very being our God finds a home, a dwelling place. What a profound truth of our faith! Reflecting on this truth of our faith will fill one with hope and our hope grows as we experience God’s presence in our daily lives. Our hope is fulfilled and this creates a reciprocal love or a loving relationship with our Creator who so longs for our love in return. May we all know the rich abundance of autumn’s harvest and may this overflow into our spiritual growth and fulfillment.