In the passing of time, I have learned to appreciate the changing of seasons here in Europe. I like them all: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each of them speaks of truths that I need to learn and each time I get to know more our God – his goodness, his providential care and above all, his unbounded and unconditional love; I also got to know myself better. These truths help me deepen my relationship with him and with those with whom I live.

In the beginning, autumn is the season that I liked least. Why? Because even though the plants and trees were enchanting and magical in its earlier stages because of their beautiful colors, after the leaves all fall to the ground and turn brown and eventually decay, the ground becomes dirty, especially when it rains and the climate gets colder and the surrounding gets more drab, bleak and misty. It gives me a melancholic and nostalgic feeling.

But one day, after I commented to a Sister that I do not like autumn so much, she replied: “Look at each leaf closely in autumn. A leaf does not fall to the ground without a replacement. There, where it once was attached, is a new shoot, awaiting the coming of spring.”

A leaf falls to the ground to give room to a new shoot – a new “generation.” Every leaf holds with it a promise of new life. In springtime this promise of new life becomes a reality and bursts forth, bringing new life to trees and plants. Is there not a parallelism in the Gospel where Jesus says: “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will remain just a grain of wheat? But when it dies it bears much fruit”? (Jn.12:24) How true it is!

From then on I began to appreciate and love autumn. It is beautiful from beginning to end. It is a season of hope!