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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Falling Away to God

Oct 16, 2020
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I have always loved autumn. Here in the temperate Midwest, the deciduous trees put on a cloak of many colors that rivals Joseph’s. The maples flame in brilliant reds, the sycamores and poplars turn to burnished gold, and the oaks offer a stunning rainbow of hues.

Up until recently, it has mainly been the crisp, cooler weather and the fall colors that I have savored about autumn. But now, I have also begun to pay attention to what happens after the spectacular show of technicolor leaves: the trees let them fall to the ground, to become nourishment for the soil.

In this, the trees offer a valuable lesson about letting go as an essential part of a healthy life. Our kids grow up, and because we love them, we let them go. We are wronged by someone, but eventually, if we don’t want our grievance to consume us, we have to let it go. A job or a home or a relationship is right for a season, and then we have to let it go. In light of some recent health challenges, I have been struggling to let go of the idea that my body will always be a strong and reliable partner for my mind and spirit

If we’re going to live peacefully with each other and with our God-given Earth, many of us are going to have to let some things fall away.

We have to let go of the idea that we can keep burning fossil fuels and producing material goods without limit. We have to give up the notion that we have a God-given right to luxury and convenience at any social and environmental cost.

And as we face the consequences of our collective choices—a changing climate, the loss of habitat and species, landscapes irreparably scarred by human abuse, and human communities that suffer from poverty and injustice—we have to let go of the illusion that our presence on this planet has been merely benign.

Letting go isn’t easy. Even many trees, like oaks, beech, and ironwood, cling to their dead leaves throughout most of the winter. In fact, I don’t think it can be done without trust—as Jesus had when he submitted to the cross—that we are held in strong hands, which will never let us go, and that our empty hands and open hearts might receive new and even more precious gifts.


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Comments

Submitted by Gera Agoglia (not verified) on Fri, 10/16/2020 - 09:16 AM

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Fr. Dan: Please show me the incontrovertible scientific proof of climate change as a scientific fact of reality not a liberal agenda only supported by weather climate models that forecast the future based on current weather trends. Weather changes and the cyclicality of nature has many causes including sun spots, el Nino among others. How many scientists actually renounce your claim of the evils of fossil fuels? What is going to replace fossils fuels with, Solar panels? You also probably reject atomic energy? Please stop insulting my intelligence with a political agenda covered in the wolves clothing of theological nonsense. Do me a favour pray for peace. If you so strongly believe in the evils of fossil fuels, stop using plastics, sell your computer and car wite letters on paper and buy a horse or walk.

Submitted by Fred (not verified) on Fri, 10/16/2020 - 10:09 AM

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Wonderful sentiment, letting go. And of course, as we let go of these things mentioned in life, as in, also, letting go of ourselves and trusting in Jesus, the final letting go will be the best., knowing as you said, that God will not let us go. Reminds me of the reassuring hymn, “O Love That Will Not Le Me Go. Thank you.

Submitted by Carole Washburn (not verified) on Fri, 10/16/2020 - 11:50 AM

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Beautiful comparison between falling away of autumn leaves and our ability of letting go harmful things in our life to allow a closer relationship with God. Very meaningful!!

Submitted by Loretta (not verified) on Fri, 10/16/2020 - 11:19 PM

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As we age we learn what is important and what we can let go. Judging personalities is something we all encounter and must overcome and see God in each individual. That is why it is extremely important to respect life which is a gift from God. Human beings should not be second rated to nature which God gave us to enjoy and use intelligently. Children deserve the utmost respect first!

Submitted by Maria Genara S… (not verified) on Sun, 10/18/2020 - 11:33 PM

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Letting go is saying good bye to anything that in the run of time, must go. We can do this if we surrender ourselves to the wisdom and love of God for us.

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