A Note From Fr. Timothy
The end of daylight saving time in this country usually coincides with the beginning of firearm season for deer in Minnesota. For many hunters (like Fr. LeRoy and myself) and others, these things symbolize that we are in the depths of Fall and that Winter is right around the corner. For many people in these northern climates, that means we make many last-minute preparations before the snow flies. We might winterize our homes and vehicles, finish raking and mulching leaves, or make sure the snowblower is working properly. It is a good time to take care of the things outdoors that would be much more difficult or uncomfortable in freezing temperatures or bitter cold.
While finishing those tasks and duties we have, I have always found that now is also a good time to relax and spend time outside. Winter can seem to last a long time, and with winter days being shorter and temperatures being colder, we often spend less and less time outside – just rushing from one heated place to another. I encourage you to try to find time in the next few days to go outside and simply enjoy being outside, before that task becomes too difficult. It is important that we can appreciate what we have in front of us, even as we recognize that challenging days might be ahead.
This is one of the reasons I have come to enjoy deer hunting. It is an opportunity (or excuse) to spend considerable time out in the woods. Whether the day is sunny or cloudy, cold or cool (it is never really warm), hunting helps “recharge my batteries” and truly enjoy just being able to be outside. Even if you do not hunt, hopefully you can experience some of those same peaceful moments enjoying the gift of these fall days, and be more prepared to endure (and appreciate) the winter days to come.
I think the liturgical calendar in the Church gives some indication of this attitude as well. The month of November begins with the celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day, and usually ends with the Solemnity of Christ the King. It gives us reasons to rejoice and lift up our spirits in the triumph of the Saints and the victory of Christ. We have opportunities to go out to cemeteries and make processions – to be active and rejoicing – before we begin the more solemn season of Advent (usually in December).
Of course, the penitential season of Advent does not mean we should only be gloomy, nor does the cold of winter mean we cannot still enjoy those days. But in those moments where it might be a little more difficult to smile or be cheerful, hopefully we are able to remember and hold fast to those opportunities we took now to slow down and simply exist and appreciate the world around us. Those days can be a little bit brighter as we let the light of these days shine upon them.
With that in mind, Fr. LeRoy and I will be on vacation much of this week. Maybe you also can consider taking time this Fall to relax and recharge. And may God bless you and protect you wherever you may be.
Fr. Timothy Gapinski