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Bishop Daniel Felton: The change of seasons is a spiritual exercise

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Greetings to you in the name of the Lord of all time and the Savior of every season! It is hard to believe that the new Autumn season will soon arrive, as it quickly discards the days of summer. I have to admit, Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons: crisp and cool evenings, homecoming gatherings, bonfires, beautiful leaf colors, and the beginning of the football season! 

Bishop Daniel Felton
Bishop Daniel Felton
Believe in the Good News

It is no wonder that the perfect Mass preface for this time of the year simply proclaims: “It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, Holy Father, almighty and eternal God. For you laid the foundations of the world and have arranged the changing of times and seasons ….” 

Who would have imagined that the changing of a season is of God? For that reason, every change of season can be understood as a spiritual exercise. With the beginning of the season of Autumn, God invites us to hit the reset button. As nature changes seasons, God invites our human nature to a change of heart, and perhaps a change in attitude. Every change of season affords us the opportunity to let go of bad habits, sin, attitudes, grudges, and resentment and to begin anew — not by our doing, but at God’s seasonal beckon. 

As we move into the season of Autumn, beginning anew with the help of God’s grace, we also are accompanied by the seasonal celebrations of saints and days like the Exaltation of the Cross; St. Matthew; St. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael; St. Therese of the Child Jesus; St. Francis of Assisi; St. Teresa of Jesus; St. Luke; Sts. Simon and Jude; All Saints Day; Thanksgiving Day; Christ the King; and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to mention a few. All of these occasions remind us that the saints are praying for us in every season to begin anew with the help of God’s grace. 

It is also during the season of Autumn that we celebrate the patroness of our Diocese, Our Lady of the Rosary, on Oct. 7. This year’s celebration of our patroness will be even more special, as I will ordain Jacob Toma to the Holy Order of the Diaconate. What a beautiful manifestation of an answer to our vocational prayer, which always concludes with, “We commend our prayers to our patroness, Mary, Queen of the Rosary.” 

Finally, as we change time with our clocks “falling back” an hour, I would invite you to make a special Holy Hour with that extra hour. Spend some time, not only resetting your clocks, but resetting your life and love of God. 

So, goodbye, Summer, and welcome, Autumn. With the beginning of a new season, what needs to change in your heart and attitude? What must you leave behind with a Summer ending, and embrace anew with the onset of Autumn? Treat this change of season as a spiritual exercise, and you will be amazed at the outpouring of God’s blessings on you and your relationship with the Giver of every gift and the Source of our blessings. 

Bishop Daniel Felton is the tenth bishop of Duluth.