The title of our e-newsletter, E-Vōc, is a play on the word evoke. One definition of evoke is “to bring or recall to the conscious mind.” I invite you to recall your own memories or images of this autumn season.
As I think of this month of October, it “evokes” memories of childhood in the Midwest. October is marching bands practicing with the drums carrying across the hillsides with their booming thumps, it is falling leaves and a brilliant blue sky, and colors changing in myriad trees for a beautiful show. It is football, pumpkins, apple cider and a chill in the air. It is sweatshirt weather and time to pull out the warm socks. This calling to mind brings a smile and fond memories. Now, as I live in the South, my autumn is much milder and there are no falling leaves or chilly nights for a few months yet, but my new reality does not negate my touchstones from long ago.
The Church calendar for October is also a time of “recalling to the conscious mind” through the feast days of some of our most well-known saints. It is the month of Our Lady of the Rosary, of St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Francis. There is also St. Boniface, and later St. Teresa of Avila, just to name a few. Finally, by the end of the month, we are ready for celebrating the great cloud of witnesses on Nov. 1 for the feast of All Saints. These feast days are an opportunity to revisit the lives of these incredibly diverse men and women. Let us also remember that they lived during famines, plagues, wars and similar life-altering events. In these days of the pandemic, we can find comfort in their words, and in reflection upon their lives. They are powerful intercessors as well.
During this pandemic, we are experiencing an autumn like none we have known. We are learning new ways of being, new ways of connecting, and like the falling leaves, we are being asked to let go and trust that God is in it all.
S. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, in her poem “Listening to Autumn” writes:
I am listening.
I am listening to the song of transformation,
To the wisdom of the season,
To the losses and the grieving,
To the turning loose and letting go.
I am listening to the surrender of autumn.
I am listening.
The lives of our saints serve as a reminder, like the seasons, that this too shall pass, that God is in all, that faith, hope and love are the greatest gifts. Let their lives “evoke,” call to mind, the lessons of these days. Trust, surrender, let go. God is faithful.