As summer winds down for many of us here in Canada, we see this time as one of beginnings and endings. We are grateful for the season of heat and dripping ice cream. We recall the yellow lawns and desperate dry weeks punctuated with rainy pauses and refreshing winds. We are grateful for the beginning of fall and the season of busy schedules, duties and meetings. We look forward to the time of yellow and red leaves, fallow fields, and crisp cool days. In each beginning and ending we find Christ who is the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end.
In this time we place before God our gratitude for the past months. Some of us may have experienced loss. Some of us have experienced joyful times. All of us pray for those we care for, and those we continue to serve in our daily lives. We seek God’s wisdom to guide us as we face all our beginnings and endings. We look for Jesus, our Alpha and Omega, in every moment that we share with one another.
So, we move forward as schools begin, with a reflection from “O Antiphons for Summer & Autumn” by Joyce Rupp. We pray fervently for the success, safety and well-being of students, education staff, parents, caregivers and families.
“Farewell, O Breath of Summer. With your warm winds, you breathed on all within us that resisted growth. You tempered our desire to be in control and raised up a little wildness in us.
O rustling leaves falling from the trees, Come! Come live inside our aching goodbyes. Teach us the truth of life’s impermanence. Empty us of all that does not bless others. Draw us into the waiting soil of wintertime. O Come!
Adieu, beloved gardens of plenty that blessed us with your wealth. You sustained us with your abundance. Remind us of the world’s hunger and nudge us to give from our fullness.
O harvester of wisdom, Come! Come fill us with the waters of wisdom. Show us the beauty of aging with grace. Prepare us for the long, dark nights. Gather from our lives all that has potential. O Come!
Farewell, O Long Days of Extended Light, that embraced us with your wide expansive arms. You opened our eyes to the daily miracle of life. You slipped into our distracted hearts with every dawn and expanded our ability to see beauty in our world.
O first white fingers of deadening frost, Come! Come with your touch of mortality. Carry us into the heart of deepest truth. Befriend that which needs to die in us. Teach us to be ready for the great letting go. O Come!”
(Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr, The Circle of Life: The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons (Ave Maria Press, 2005).
Michael Way Skinner is a retired Coordinator of Religion, Family Life, and Equity with the York Catholic District School Board. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (1st Class Honours) degree from St. Francis Xavier University and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. He also completed the Program in Religion and Secondary Education (P.R.S.E.) with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Michael was a contributing author to World Religions: A Canadian Catholic Perspective, and co-authored There Must be a Pony in Here Somewhere with his wife, Christine Way Skinner. Michael is a public speaker and award-winning educator who is deeply committed to faith as a source for inclusion and justice.