A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘autumn

Yesterday afternoon, autumn officially arrived.

For me, one of the joys of fall is being able to take my dog for a walk. Since English bulldogs don’t cope well with heat and humidity, much of Molly’s summertime exercise involves her scooting up and down the hall and chasing toys. In the fall, we can have a nice walk around the park, either early or late in the day, before she’s out of puff. Dew on the grass is nothing to her when there are intriguing smells to smell.

Bulldog with a football

My dog, Molly, trying to pick up a football

And fall weather is great for us to go bike riding or walk on one of the trails in the area. Or play a game of H-O-R-S-E in the driveway, if we don’t mind losing to an athletic thirteen-year-old.

Even if we’re just on the deck rather than out and about, fall offers many opportunities to enjoy nature: squirrels stocking up on nuts and seeds before winter, birds filling up on insects, trees still leafy and maybe just starting to change colour, fresh air, and great views of the moon and stars on clear evenings.

All of this natural beauty speaks to us about God’s power, as we read in Psalm 19:1, 3-4*:

The heavens are telling the glory of God;

and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

There is no speech, nor are there words;

their voice is not heard;

yet their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

Much remains to be learned about our own planet, not to mention the universe. Often we see reports on the latest discoveries, such as distant planets that might be able to sustain life and animals found not to be extinct. As Wisdom 13:5 reminds us, the amazing variety and splendour of creation points to God:

For from the greatness and beauty of created things

comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.

So as we enjoy the outdoors over the next couple of months, I pray that we would take a moment to thank God for the beauty of his creation. Whether we live in the valley or the mountains, by the ocean or on the prairies, in the country or downtown, I pray that we would notice the small or large wonders of nature and remember that “the author of beauty created them” (Wisdom 13:3).

(*Quotes from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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In the 1980s, my family moved across the country to a house in the country where the garden overflowed with pumpkins and squash, and we had to find ways to make use of the unexpected bounty. (We were drowning in zucchini, for one thing.) Maybe that’s why I enjoy the fresh apples, squash and root vegetables in the fall.

fresh apple

My son about to enjoy a freshly picked apple back in fall 2011

While cooking for picky eaters is challenging year-round, fall produce invites me to make slow-cooked comfort foods and apple pies, especially since we now have a mini pie baker—a big help to people like me who aren’t the best at turning out pretty pastry.

The best part of all this is the time we spend eating meals together. A contrast with summertime, when no one wants to cook and meals tend to be eaten in the cool basement family room, where the TV awaits.

In the fall, we can sit in the dinette, enjoy our food and talk about the challenges and high points of the day. (In all honesty, I do most of the talking while everyone else eats.)

It seems that something similar happens to parishes in the summer.

When it’s hot, the service tends to be shorter. Attendance falls in the summer, with parishioners on holiday or at cottages. And if the church relies on fans for cooling, parishioners hurry out as soon as the service ends rather than socialize.

Then September arrives. We come together in greater numbers as a community to spend time worshipping and praising God and sharing a meal, the Eucharist. So we should, since we’re meant to live out our faith together, just as the book of Acts tells us the early church did. More opportunities arise to use our gifts to serve others within our faith community and beyond.

We’re blessed to spend time once again with our family and our “church family” and to have the chance to support, encourage and build up one another and use that “fresh start” feeling of September to bear good fruit for God.

On a sad note, I pray that God would heal those who were injured and grant his rest to those who were killed in yesterday’s bus/train collision in Ottawa and that he would comfort the families, friends and colleagues of the victims and survivors.


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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