Autumn sounds its beckoning call, its call to wake up from the dream of summer and engage with new energy and resolve our work, our learning, our path.
This yearly rhythm of expansion into the dreamy oneness of summer and then the turning, the turning towards concentration and the directed will of Autumn, is a mirror of an even greater rhythm. It mirrors our journey after we have laid our bodies aside and go into the spiritual world. At the height of this great journey of the soul, expanding through the heavenly spheres, we are ‘breathed in’ by the highest Godhead, breathed in by the triune being of the divinity. We experience in that ‘moment’ oneness with God, we experience what we can call ‘heavenly communion’. And then there is a turn. We feel in that moment the deep bliss of being at one with our highest humanity but we also feel that this does not yet fully belong to us. We feel the great and tremendous development we must go through to become what we experience there.
And this is when we remember the earth.
We ‘turn’ our attention back to that incredible place in the universe where it is possible to forget this magnificent origin and goal of who we are and we feel in the depths of our being, “we must go back down there.” A deep longing is awakened in the soul to return to the earth because it is there that we can learn and grow and take further steps on our long path of development. There, in the highest heaven, we fully unify in spiritual communion with Christ and he helps direct our gaze back to earth, the place of suffering and death- but also the place of resurrection. This earth, this incredible life we have been given here on earth, is the place of transformation and growth, the place our souls are given as the great school of life.
And so yes, it is back to school time! Even if we aren’t buying a new backpack or pencil bag because we have long since ‘graduated’, we can feel ourselves called back to the path of learning at this time of year. And the voice that calls us is our Teacher, the one who speaks to us in the Sacrament of Consultation, saying “learn.” Into this great cosmic life rhythm between death and new birth and into the great rhythm of out-breath and in-breath in the course of the year we gather in the power of the weekly rhythm, of rekindling that experience of deep spiritual communion with Christ at the altar on Sunday that gives us the strength and healing we need to turn back to our lives, our next week, with renewed resolve, hope and peace.
Patrick Kennedy is a priest of the Christian Community, movement for religious renewal, currently working in the Washington D.C. area. For more information see http://www.thechristiancommunity.org or http://www.ccgwb.org.