What are your feelings about Fall? Are you like Anne Shirley and so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers? Or do you view it as a fearful herald of the rapidly approaching winter? No matter if you love autumn or dread it, there is a beauty and significance to the changing of the seasons.
Jim Otremba, a licensed therapist and regular Morning Air® contributor, recently stopped by to discuss the Catholic spirituality of autumn and offered his perspective on what this season has to offer on a spiritual level.
“As Catholics we love seasons,” he said. “There are the liturgical seasons, and of course there are natural seasons as well. I love being Catholic because we’re so sacramental. I just love the fact that we see God in all of this because it’s orchestrated by God.”
One aspect of autumn that Jim connects to his prayer life is the changing of the weather. Cooler temperatures mean we’re pulling out sweaters, jackets, and wrapping ourselves in blankets to stay comfortable. That cozy feeling of comfort is something that can remind us of the Lord and his promises.
Jim explained, “Think about the last time you were cold, and wrapped yourself up in a blanket or a comfy sweater. Think about that for a second. Well, that’s exactly what God wants to do with us. Isaiah 66 is one of my favorite images of God. Isaiah says, ‘As a mother comforts her son, so shall I comfort you.’ And we need these comforting messages right now. We need this comfort of God.”
“God desires to comfort us – through the sacraments, through safe people, through the Church,” he said. “And I guess my question is: in the midst of our current difficulties, how have we experienced God’s comfort? I think that is such an important question. How do we experience God’s comfort in the midst of the difficulties we have been through?”
Certain seasons lend themselves to certain Scripture verses. The first chapters of Luke are perfect for the Christmas season, the Passion narrative is fitting to pray with during Lent. And Jim shared that during autumn he finds Scripture verses about giving thanks to be perfect for his prayer life.
“One of the connections I like to make during autumn is harvest time,” he said. “I grew up in a farming country, and we are very thankful for the harvest. And, of course, the word Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving.’ At every Eucharist, we give the supreme thanks, because we can participate in Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and descent of the Holy Spirit. So autumn is a time to be grateful, to be thankful even in the midst of the difficulties.”
Jim and Morning Air hosts John Harper and Glen Lewerenz shared several of their favorite aspects of Fall, and Jim pointed out, “All of these are wonderful gifts from the Lord, aren’t they? They remind us of God’s providential care, that God is a good, good Father. And God desires to provide for us and protect us, even in the midst of the difficulties we’re in. We’ve got to remember that.”
“In the midst of the heaviness of the world right now we can recognize that there is still joy, there is still beauty, there is still goodness, and truth,” he said. “They still exist, they’re still going on. And we need to set aside time to appreciate that. My invitation to listeners today is to make these connections when we’re outside or seeing the beauty of autumn. See that, and make these spiritual connections.”
Listen to the full conversation below: