And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.” (Genesis 1:14)
Dark green mountainsides, weary of standing sentinel throughout summer, are slowly changing hue while September pours herself out upon the landscape. As the glow of the sunset bathes the end of day in deep gold and red, so does autumn wash over summer’s green world in warm, glowing hues, signifying the end of summer’s heat. It also signifies the arrival of fall and refreshingly cooler weather.
Seasons are often thought of in terms of these external changes they bring. But if we look more closely, we recognize within them a more complex purpose.
The Real Greatest Show On Earth
The present page on the calendar is a ticket to one of the greatest productions on the planet. Nature is the troupe, earth the stage, and we the audience. These changes of the new seasons occur because they are proper to the natural order, but also because of the glory of the director. All of nature testifies to the existence of God. “Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God.” (Cicero, The Nature of the Gods 1:16)
While the doubtful man cries, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is,” our entire universe utters testimony, “Because this is good, God must be true.” No chemical reaction moves itself with its own ingredients; no big bang supplied its own gas or even the vast expanse of space that contained the big bang; and seasons do not cause the movement of earth away from or towards the sun. “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. “ (Psalm 19:1)
In one smooth motion, fall arrives and summer is ushered out with grand formality. Air grows thin and colder; boiling clouds blanket earth from above, leaving open windows to the last azure hues of summer’s blue sky. Marigolds and sunflowers bow their heads and drop seeds. Raging rivers now run low, and lakes lap mud instead of sand. Expiring, summer gives life to fall.
These things are not accidents, nor are they self-orchestrated. The concept of a Prime Mover is so simple that even young children understand there must be a God. “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” (Daniel 2:21)
It seems, in my experience, only those who have allowed the pain of heartbreak or the trauma of fear to morph into anger — and who direct that anger towards this supreme maker — insist He is not real.
It is our duty as Catholics and as creatures, to show forth, as nature does, the great glory of God. It is only in appreciating what divine power must be to bring forth this entire universe that we can submit ourselves to His will. Our finite minds limit us to these relatively cursory understandings — that God is omnipotent, omniscient, just, and merciful all at once; yet we can see how the same is true in all things natural. The Creator’s thumbprint is found woven throughout the natural world, stringing together the most unrelated and unlikely creatures and reactions.
No man would have ever imagined — let alone designed — a platypus, nor dreamt of a glowworm, nor suspended stars in the sky for millennia so we could guide our measures of time or light our way by night. Only God could see all our needs, temporal and spiritual, and create all those things to work together for our good. “He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name.” (Amos 5:8)
Created to Believe
Along the same vein, no man would have ever dared to design a plan for salvation which included the Son of God as food for our eternal souls, making him suffer for our sins. Unlikely things are these, strung together in the magnificent plan of the almighty Creator.
His proofs of His love are not wanting; and nature’s purpose is to show forth His glory to help our belief. God does not need our belief; we need to believe. We were created to believe.
So let us who profess belief not be found wanting in living our Faith. Let us not fail in our duty, perhaps while walking with a coworker during our break, or fishing with a friend on the shores, or gazing at stars with a lover, to give credit to God for His mighty works. We, too, are creatures, designed to show forth the glory of God, for the sake of leading others to eternal life and happiness.
It is not enough that we profess this belief with our tongues; or study the higher things, enjoying lofty conversation with like minds; or that we rage against errors. We are called to carry out our duty in a spirit of charity, pouring the love of God over those weary of standing sentinel over their angry hearts. We are called to bathe those lost in loneliness, fear, grief, and anger in the warmth of love’s glow.
Let’s signify the end of a season of doubt, and the arrival of the light of truth according to his command, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)