See also past Guest columns.

Thanksgiving and autumn harvest reflections Print
Guest column
Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 -- 1:00 AM

guest columnAs nature decorates the hillsides with the beautiful autumn leaves, our thoughts turn to the harvest.

No mere artist can model the natural hillside of trees in arrangement and color, nor the bounty that feeds all creatures.

God is revealing himself to people and gives us abundant reason in which to see, honor, and be grateful for the order in nature.

As we behold this autumn of 2010, let us stop to praise God not only for the beauty we see in nature but also for his providential care through crops — corn, soybeans, squash, pumpkins, and all — each of which has a color, form, and purpose.

It has always caused me to raise my often preoccupied heart in real gratitude for all that our loving God has given us — the fruits of Earth in all their color and splendor.

We also know that following this burst of nature’s fruitfulness and beauty in autumn will come winter. With its snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, winter will cause all of us to bundle up, stay warm, and wait with real longing for spring and all its promise of new life in the ordered cycle of nature.

God in his goodness has also gone beyond nature in telling us who he is. He gave us his Word in the Old Testament and, after Christ’s birth in time and history, a New Testament: the Gospels according to our four evangelists — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — and the epistles and other works of Paul, the Apostles, and others.

We recall from the Letter to the Hebrews that God, who in diverse manner through the prophets of old, spoke to the people he chose as his own, now speaks to us in the name of his only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ.

We hear a lot about Evangelization these days as a need in the world. A simple translation: to be evangelized is to be “Gospelized.” My definition of evangelization is: “making God known and loved.”

A third level of God’s revelation to us is His Body, the Church: a gift of a community of faith entrusted to us in a hierarchical form to give us truths to believe in, sacraments to celebrate, and moral precepts to live by.

The Catholic Church is our name. We are made up of two major rites: Roman and Eastern. Both rites blend with each other in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We are that universal Church, Christ’s mystical body.

As people of faith, we praise God for the Church. We thank him for his goodness to us.

It is now autumn, a moment of the year for gathering the fruits of nature and human toil in the harvest.

It is a time before winter, when all in nature appears to die and we must await the emergence of new life in the spring that grows and matures throughout summer.

In every season, may we rejoice in the Lord of creation, our God who reveals himself through nature, by his spoken Word, and most fully in Jesus, who founded his Church.

The Lord who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a God of life on all levels of his revelation to us.

As members of our holy Church, by the waters of our Baptism, may each one of us answer the call to be a bearer of the Gospel of Christ in order to make God known and loved.

Let us pray for one another, reflecting on God’s love and goodness that we see in nature, in his Word, in the Church to which we belong, and in every person made in his image.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Bishop William H. Bullock is Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Madison.