Autumn comes slowly to Virginia. It seems that summer is loath to relinquish its hot grip on our world. But here and there, we can perceive signs that the inevitable transition is taking place: few cooler days, some reddish or yellowy leaves sprinkled among our trees, but most of all the marked shortening of the days. Poor Clares are early risers and so we are very much aware when the sun delays its own rising. Another sign of autumn is a paradoxical shift back to spring of some of our flowering plants. It seems that when the days get short enough and the nights appropriately long enough to imitate the light setting of March/April, spring blooming bushes and bulbs are tricked into blooming in September! One of these was a perfectly lovely, pure white iris that blossomed forth last week, just in time for Our Lady’s birthday. An observing Sister joyfully added it to Mary’s birthday bouquet gracing her statue at the back of our choir.
We know that Mary, like any good mother, has a special, tender love for all “late bloomers”.
September also presents to us a liturgical “flashback” to the springtime celebration of the Paschal Mystery as we celebrate the Lord’s Triumph of the Cross on Sept. 14, followed by His Mother’s Sorrows and then, for Franciscans, the Stigmata of St. Francis. This last commemorates the mystical imprinting of Christ’s wounds upon our Holy Founder, his own very special participation in the Passion of the Lord. We pray for you and your loved ones, that the crosses you bear and the wounds you suffer may be transformed by the grace of God into blessings now and triumph in the age to come.