Falling

by Rev. Terry Tripp, Spiritual Direction Program Director

The summer heat has abated and the signs of Fall are coming in. It was an unprecedented summer. I wonder what this new season of change wfall colorsill be that is upon us. Each new season pretends a promise of movement in weather, in scenery, in rhythms, in hoped for change or in kept relationships. Yet, what God always promises in change is His faithfulness. But I have come to wonder about His faithfulness. Faithfulness to what?

More than anything it is a faithfulness to love. A love that we cannot make in our image. Only in the image of Christ are we introduced to true love. A love that bears pain, and therefore, a love that allows emptiness as a prerequisite to fullness. The Gospel of Matthew puts it this way;

That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear. Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are?  Mt. 6:25-26

To receive God’s gift of love we need to make room for it. To not fill ourselves with empty cravings, but long for/desire God and trust that He will give us what we need when we need it.

In falling we can be caught; in being empty we can be filled. It is a vulnerable way of living. It is a faith-filled way of living. It is about letting go in order to find oneself being led, whether you know anything of it or not (as Thomas Merton contended). We at CFDM invite you again to a renewed desire for God’s way, God’s fulfillment, God’s ever present self-communicating intimacy. Know that you are loved beyond all that you can imagine and held when all seems to have fallen away.

Macrina Wiederfehr in her book, “Seasons of Your Heart” writes beautifully this act of surrender, of vulnerability, of welcoming a new season. Her poem: “The Sacrament of Letting Go”

Slowly
she celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
First she surrendered her green,
then the orange, yellow, and red
finally she let go of her brown.
Shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust.

And Jesus said:
Why do you worry about clothes? Remember the flowers growing in the fields; they do not fret about what to wear; yet I assure you not even Solomon in all his royal robes was dressed like one of these.

Shedding her last leaf
she watched its journey to the ground.
She stood in silence
wearing the color of emptiness,
her branches wondering;
How do you give shade with so much gone?

And Jesus said:
Do not be troubled or needlessly concerned.

And then,
the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and the sunset watched with
tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive.

They helped her understand that
her vulnerability,
her dependence and need,
her emptiness,
her readiness to receive,
were giving her a new kind of beauty.
Every morning and every evening they stood
in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting.

And Jesus said:
Now if that is how God cares for the wild flowers in the fields which are here today and gone tomorrow, will He not all the more care for you…?

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