“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to harvest what has been planted.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2)
The month of November is a season of remembrance: on Remembrance Sunday we remember, in a particular way, those who have given their lives in the service of our country and throughout this month, in the Catholic tradition, we remember and pray for the beloved dead of our own families, friends and parish community: the ‘holy souls’ who rest in peace in anticipation of the resurrection.
Nature offers a sympathetic setting to these sentiments: the leaves on the trees, lately so full of life, fall to the ground and die. Memory stirs up the scattered leaves of times past, like the winter winds which blow where they will.
And yet, for the Christian, this is not the whole story. Already, hidden from sight in the darkness of the earth, new life is being made ready. Spring will come again. Winter will not last forever. Nature is resting; it has not died. The trees, now stripped bare, will be re-clothed in new life. The dark, cold night of loss will gave way to the bright new dawn of unending day.
Our loved ones who, with reverence, we ‘plant’ in the earth will one day rise again in glory at the command of the Risen One, whose defeat of death heralds the end of history. Easter will come and the eternal springtime of a life which will never end.
Fr Jamie McMorrin,
St Francis Xavier’s RC Church, Falkirk