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September Reflection

September here in Paris has been a month of beautiful sunshine. The city’s many parks are abuzz with Parisians and visitors alike, all making the most of this wonderful end-of-summer heat. For now, it seems that all the rushing and stress of normal everyday city life has been put on hold. Even the grumpiest of Parisian waiters are more friendly these days!

Yet despite the lovely sunshine, there is something different about autumn light. Autumn sunlight shines somewhat paler than the intense light of high summer. And its paleness carries within it a hint of the winter darkness just around the corner. For sure, the nights are rapidly closing in. The trees are letting go of their foliage. Winter darkness will soon prevail.

Autumn is a season when nature seems to sheds all its vitality and holds onto only what is necessary as it prepares to hibernate for the winter. And yet, beneath the sleepy hiddenness of hibernation, nature remains in expectant and hopeful waiting for the new dawn of spring…

Autumn then, is a time for us to let go too and to shed all that threatens the promise of a new spring within each of us. The winter’s darkness doesn’t have to be a heavy burden then. Living in the darkness can become an experience of grace as we wait for the new light of spring; the grace of time with family and friends; the grace of time to reflect and to study; the grace of time to pray…

In the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “Most High, Glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of my heart (…) so that I may carry out what is truly your holy will. Amen”