Autumn Equinox

Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

September 22, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, as we mark the Autumn Equinox, we pray with a verse from our Responsorial Psalm:

Bless the Lord, all you chosen ones,
and may all of you praise God’s majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, 
give God praise.

Tobit 13: 7-8
"EQUINOX"
- the beautiful heft of the word!
Four malleable vowels and
two steely consonants,
softened slightly by a third.
On the fulcrum of a middle "i",
"equ" pushes for balance
against the pressure of "nox",
whose mass bears 
winter's weighted threat.

However we may read the word “equinox”, it spells “change“. Trees put away their lithesome summer greens, like sleeveless tops folded on September’s shelf. Slowly, they wrap themselves within autumn’s deep gold and umber sweaters, trimmed in warm magenta.

We too return to the enterprise of warmth, of fueling fires, of lighting lamps. What nature gave, and we heedlessly received in bright July, is spent. Some chilled memory of solstice motivates us to prepare.


Our hearts too, in synch or out with seasons, cycle through such changes. This inner rhythm of need and abundance is the music through which the Holy Spirit shapes our understanding of God. As in all graceful dances, there must be a yielding. There must be abandon to the mystery into which each passing step dissolves.

God hums the infinite song in our souls, if we will listen. It is deeper than any single note of joy or sorrow. It is the fluid under-beat of Love which recreates and sustains us in every shifting moment of our lives. We belong to it as the waves belong to the Sea, as the leaves belong to the Seasons.


In Philadelphia, it is a glorious day – a perfect vestibule to a season of amazing beauty.  Nature prepares to shed the showy accretions of summer in a multi-colored ritual of leave-taking. It is time to return to the essentials – back to the branch, back to the buried root, back to the bare, sturdy reality that will anchor us in the coming winter.

On each of the coming days, some new layer of green will ignite in a blaze of scarlet or gold then turn out its light for a long winter’s sleep. Nature knows when things are finished.  It knows when it has had enough.  It knows its need for a season of emptying, for a clearing of the clutter, for the deep hibernation of its spirit.


But we humans often ignore the need for an “autumning” of our spirits.  We try to live every moment in the high energy of summer – producing, moving, anticipating, and stuffing our lives with abundance.  

But simplicity, solitude and clarity are necessary for our spirit to renew itself.  Autumn is the perfect time to prayerfully examine the harvest of our lives – reaping the essentials and sifting out the superfluous. In the quiet shade of a crimson maple tree, we may discover what we truly love, deeply believe and really need to be fully happy.

Take time on these crystal days to ask yourself what is really essential in your life.  Nurture those things with attention and care.  Don’t take them for granted.  After the flare of the summer has passed, these are the things that will sustain you: a strong faith, a faithful love and a loving compassion. Tend them in this season of harvest.

Music: Autumn from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi

Psalm 51: Spring Cleaning

Fifth Sunday of Lent 

March 21, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 51, a psalm to inspire our spring soul-cleaning.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
    and a steadfast spirit renew within me.

Psalm 51:12

Happy Spring to all of you in the northern hemisphere! Blessings of new life and hope!

And for my southern friends already in your Autumn Season, blessings of change and release!


Psalm 51 can speak to our hearts in whatever season we find ourselves.

After our long winters, external or internal, we may call upon God for a fresh budding of our hearts:

Give me back the joy of your salvation,
    and a willing spirit sustain in me.

Psalm 51: 14-15

When bright summer wanes and vibrant trees speak of leave-taking, we may pray to remain in warmth and light:

Cast me not out from your presence,
    and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

Psalm 51: 13

Across our hemispheres, we all share the longings of Lent to be cleared of all that blocks us from Grace in our lives – to have the hidden corners of our small selfishness swept, polished and ready for Loving Mercy:

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
    in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
    and of my sin cleanse me.

Psalm 51: 3-4
The Heart Cave

       I must remember
To go down to the heart cave
& sweep it clean; make it warm
with a fire on the hearth,
& candles in their niches,
the pictures on the walls
       glowing with a quiet light.

       I must remember
To go down to the heart cave
       & make the bed
with the quilt from home,
strew
       the rushes on the floor
                                  hang
lavender and sage
                      from the corners.

           I must go down
To the heart cave & be there
           when you come.

- by Geoffrey Brown

Today, as we might take a walk under the nearly budding trees, or over their first fallen leaves, let’s ask God to walk with us:

Lord, you  open my lips;
and my mouth to proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it;
a burnt offering you would not accept.
What you want of me, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.

Psalm 51: 17-19

I open my heart, O God, to your Heart.
Teach me Love.

Poetry: A Spring Poem – Luci Shaw

all the field praises Him/all
dandelions are His glory/gold
and silver/all trilliums unfold
white flames above their trinities
of leaves all wild strawberries
and massed wood violets reflects His skies’ 
clean blue and white
all brambles/all oxeyes
all stalks and stems lift to His light
all young windflower bells
tremble on hair
springs for His air’s
carillon touch/last year’s yarrow (raising
brittle star skeletons) tells
age is not past praising
all small low unknown
unnamed weeds show His impossible greens 
all grasses sing
tone on clear tone
all mosses spread a spring-
soft velvet for His feet
and by all means all leaves/buds/all flowers cup
jewels of fire and ice
holding up
to His kind morning heat
a silver sacrifice
now
make of our hearts a field 
to raise Your praise.

Music: I Come to the Garden Alone – C. Austin Miles

“In the Garden” ( – sometimes rendered by its first line “I Come to the Garden Alone”) is a gospel song written by American songwriter C. Austin Miles (1868–1946), a former pharmacist who served as editor and manager at Hall-Mack publishers for 37 years. According to Miles’ great-granddaughter, the song was written “in a cold, dreary and leaky basement in Pitman, New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden.” The song was first published in 1912 and popularized during the Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns of the early twentieth century.
(Source: Wikipedia)