The other night I was reading this cute book to my daughter before bed called, “I Love You All Year Long.”
It goes through each season of the year, and how the mother loves her child in each season. It’s March here in Colorado, so the idea of swimming and beaches with sandcastles seemed very appealing. Yet, the raking of leaves and hot apple cider on a hayride did not have the same draw. After giving it more thought, I realized that a hayride and hot cider is so exciting and refreshing after a hot summer of drenching in sweat! Currently we are getting a spell of warm weather here and the kids have been playing outside every day, which makes me long for summer. But how exciting was it to get the kids bundled up to go play in the first snow!
That’s what I love about the seasons here. They are always changing, which allows us to appreciate the unique opportunities each season presents us with. This is much like the seasons of life that we find ourselves in. Sometimes like spring, they are full of new wonders and are very colorful. But they can also be rainy, keeping us indoors. Sometimes like summer, our lives are very dry, needing constant watering, even though we are busy doing lots of things. In fall, we rake out the dead leaves and really celebrate the changing of seasons. The different colored leaves of autumn are one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Then come the holidays during the winter, filled with anticipation, parties, and family time. But the days are cold and dark.
Every season of life has its ups and downs. Even our spiritual lives reflect these same truths – we have dark nights where we feel far from God, we have spring times of faith when we are filled with hope. Sometimes our prayer is dry and needs lots of water, and other times we rake out the dead of sin and can see the fruit of our efforts. But there is always something we can gain from each season. We need these ups and downs to not take a particular state for granted. If we can recognize these different seasons, we can appreciate what they bring, and look forward to the next change. The only constant, like in the book, is that God loves us in each season of our life. Our goal is to love him back the same in each.
At my brother’s wedding several years ago, Fr. Brady opened the Mass with the words, “The only tragedy in life is to not become a Saint.” We will experience tragedy – cancer, death, betrayal, poverty, etc. But redemption and our reward in heaven overcome all of these. On the other hand, missing the opportunity for holiness in each of these trials is the real tragedy, as God offers us grace continuously, no matter the external circumstances. Missing out on an eternity in heaven? That’s the worst.
Not feeling like you are a Saint? Neither did many of the saints. A saint is anyone in Heaven, whether the Church has publicly recognized him or her or not. We are all called to be saints. What do all saints have in common? They never gave up in each season of life. They clung to grace to get back up again when they fell, and they embraced God’s constant love in each of these ups and downs.