This time of year, living in Southern California, I have to keep reminding myself it is Autumn. Growing up in the Midwest, the beginning of November was heralded with falling leaves, dropping temperatures, and fields full of stubble after the harvest. Now all I see is blooming roses, still sunburned faces, and green lawns. While walking through the neighborhood the other day, I startled my companion by grabbing her arm and pointing to the only tree I had seen that had changed colors.
“Look! It is fall!”
Being a native Angelino, the sight was a bit lost on her, but she indulged me and appreciated my excitement.
But today and tomorrow are, in way, a celebration of Liturgical Autumn, a spiritual harvest.
Putting both All Saints Day and All Souls Day together we see how we celebrate/commemorate the Master of the Harvest gathering what He has planted. Just as the grain bins of the farmers are now filled with corn, beans, wheat, so eternity is filled with the souls of those who have gone before us, some still being winnowed, some already resting in the vision of the Holy Trinity.
It is a blessing to have All Saints’ Day first. It reminds us what we are called to and the life of beatitude meant for our loved ones who have died. On All Souls’ we pray for those who have died, and for me it is a rather somber day. I miss them. I want to be with them. I feel their absence more than their presence.
Again, it is the analogy of the harvest. The fields, once lush with life, are now empty and only stumps remain with little indication of the fruitfulness that once filled them. And yet, hidden beyond sight, safely stored for greater fruitfulness, the grain is in the farmers’ bins.