Autumn reminds us of our spiritual life Print
Written by Msgr. Daniel Ganshert   
Thursday, Sep. 25, 2008 -- 12:00 AM

Ax felled autumn is no fall at all, death only has color when entered by the living.

The bright hues of orange, yellow, and red which will festoon our trees these coming weeks make an important statement. Namely, what was there all along finally becomes visible for us to see and enjoy.

Living and Learning by Msgr. Daniel T. GanshertLeaves which had been green for months gradually show their true colors as the seasonal process of dying takes its course. If this process were to have been stopped by laying an ax to the tree, the leaves would simply have turned brown as the result of having been cut off from their roots, their life source.

Sin is like this. It can cut us off if we let it. However, when the trees are able to stay rooted, the season of the year is allowed to have its normal influence over the way the leaves change. Death, then, has color, beautiful and varied color, when leaves stay on the branches until it is their time to fall.

Human beings like you and me are meant to be colorful people, too. Where does this come from? Only from God in whose image and likeness we are made. We come from all walks of life with different backgrounds and experiences. This, among other things, makes us interesting people because we are so diverse.

And yet, it is when we give of our inner life that the even more interesting and colorful aspects of who we are become visible. How beautiful it is when we see compassion, forgiveness, personal sacrifice, and similar qualities in one another’s lives. These come from our own entering into the process of dying to ourselves.

Dying to selfishness, apathy, and greed; we need to die to ourselves so that Christ may live more and more in us. So that the beauty of the Body of Christ may be more easily seen in us. When we ask Jesus to help us, because he is our source of life, we can die to self each day and live, more and more, through him, with him, and in him.

May autumn remind us to let Christ change us, to help us die to self, to bring out the beauty which has been placed in our lives from the start as creatures of God. A beauty for all the world to see until it is our time to return to God.

Msgr. Daniel Ganshert is vicar general for the Diocese of Madison.