Autumn is a time of change. It is a season of dying and rising.  automnIn autumn, we see beautiful fall colors as leaves decline, change and fall to the ground. Autumn leaves symbolize the flow of energy, change, transition, and renewal in forests and people. The leaves vividly illustrate forest ecosystems, and how living organisms change.

Terrestrial ecosystems and even aquatic ecosystems are an extended metaphor that illustrate the biotic component of change.  Plants, animals, and people, as well as the autumn leaves, experience much change and transition in their lives. As the ecosystems, including the physical environment changes, so do our human lives. People can welcome change, but at times change can also be fearful and intimidating.

This colorful foliage represents the cycle of life and death that occurs in nature. Leaves changing color and falling from trees means one phase is ending and another is starting. We are currently in this wonderful season of nature.

The process of leaves changing color is because of the decreasing daylight and cooler temperatures. Chlorophyll, the green pigment in leaves, breaks down and reveals brilliant colors of yellow, orange, and red.

The falling leaves, though they may seem like a sign of decay, are a vital part of the ecosystem. The decaying leaves provide nutrients to the soil as they decompose, enriching it and supporting the growth of new plants in the spring. This cycle of life, death, and rebirth is fundamental to the natural world and to our human world too.

In many cultures and philosophies, this cycle is a metaphor for the broader human experience. Change is certain. Challenging times in life are reminders and opportunities to accept change, which brings chances for personal development and transformation.

Similarly, the idea of death and resurrection is present in different religious and beliefs, including Christianity. Dying and rising symbolize new beginnings after darkness or adversity, representing resurrection and renewal. The dying process is a threshold to a new eternal life.

Catholics celebrate All Saints Day on November 1st to remember all saints and martyrs during Christian history. We follow the special liturgical celebration of Allautumn Souls’ Day on November 2nd to commemorate all the faithful departed.

In certain Catholic churches, there is a lovely tradition during Mass. People remember their loss of a loved one in the past year and go to the person leading the service. Saying their loved one’s name, they then light a candle from a special candle called the Paschal candle.

People move in procession, then place the lit candle on the altar or behind the altar. The candles of those who died the previous year now bathe the church, which was once in darkness, in light. This is a powerful, beautiful ritual of dying and rising.

People come together in a decorated hall or community room to remember their loved ones who have passed away. They share stories and celebrate their loved ones’ new life.

Autumn leaves and the idea of death and rebirth show that life is a cycle. Endings are not permanent, but instead lead to new beginnings. It encourages us to find hope and beauty even in moments of transition and change.

This season, we can decorate our family table with autumn leaves and pictures of deceased family members. We can also encourage everyone to share stories about the people who have passed away.

To finish the family meal, we can sit together at the table. We can hold hands and share a memory or a unique quality of the person who has died.

People can then pray the Our Father and share an intention of a gift or trait they hope to continue.

Dying and Rising- a time to remember, pray, and carry on the qualities of those who came before us. We Remember! We Celebrate! We Believe!