June 2024 reflection – Bev Neill – Sydney Associate
June 5, 2024

Letting Go with Grace: Reflections on Autumn

“Life is a series of cycles, a constant journey of beginnings and endings.  Each ending brings the potential for a new beginning, a new creation.” (Joyce Rupp– Prayers to Sophia: Deepening our relationship with Holy Wisdom).

I’m just back from a walk with Charlie around the tree-lined streets, vibrant with the beautiful colours of autumn, coloured leaves littering the footpaths, and I can’t help but reflect on the spiritual metaphor that Autumn offers us; nature inviting us to ponder the themes of change, letting go, renewal, gratitude and the cycle of life. You may very well have other themes to add.

Autumn is a time of transformation, the season encouraging me to embrace life’s transitions with grace and acceptance, to release old habits and ideas to make room for personal and spiritual growth.  Trees shed their leaves to conserve energy for the winter and to prepare for new growth.  The challenge for me is to release what is no longer life-giving, to make room for this growth and “new” life.

“Letting go is a journey of the heart. It is a freeing process that comes only when we are willing to loosen our grip on what we have been holding tightly.”  (Joyce Rupp, The Circle of Life: Heart’s Journey through the Seasons”).

It gives me the chance to embrace change, let go of what no longer serves me, but to seek inner peace, prepare for this time of renewal, appreciate and be grateful for all I have and find greater meaning in the ebb and flow of my life.

Pope Francis often speaks about the natural world and its spiritual significance, emphasizing our care for creation and the cycles of life. “Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances?” (Laudato Si’, 225).  This autumn time of quiet reflection and transformation offers the opportunity to reconnect with these “words of love”.

He speaks of the need in our lives for reflection, contemplation, taking time to slow down and appreciate the gifts of creation and the abundance in our lives. “We need to take time to recover a serene sense of harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, contemplating the Creator who lives among us and in what surrounds us.” (Laudato Si’ 225).

In her writings, Mary Potter emphasized the importance of surrendering to God’s will and letting go of personal attachments, of trusting in God’s plan, “Let us place ourselves in the hands of our good God and leave ourselves there, confident that He will take care of us and make us holy in His own time and way.” (Mary’s Conferences). Just as the trees let go of their leaves, we are called to surrender our own burdens and trust in divine providence. She valued the contemplative life, seeing it as essential for deepening one’s relationship with God, as we are invited at this time to embrace this silence and listen to God’s voice, “In the silence of the heart, God speaks.  If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.  Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.” (The Human Family).

We know from her writings that Mary Potter understood the cycle of life and death as part of God’s plan and saw death as a transition to a new life. “Death is the gateway to life, to the fullness of life for which we were created.” (The Human Family).

Autumn invites us to embrace the changes in our lives with openness and trust, recognising that each change brings new opportunities for growth, and trusting that in letting go we will discover new life.