November 7, 2015
"Not even the smallest leaf can move without God willing it” Padre Paco used to repeat this quote every time we met, and of course I never paid attention to these words.Recently He never really expected me to understand them right away; they were just seeds he planted, hoped and prayed one day they would bear fruit within me.
I had been very blessed to always being surrounded by religious people, no matter how bad I tried to run away from these people I would always end up in the hands of a new community or something of a similar kind. I thank God that even when I tested their patience, they always stayed around looking after me, praying for my conversion.
Padre Paco, my pastor, an Augustinian Recollect from Spain pretty much dealt with the worst part of me as I had no formation at all, which led to many visits to his office. He is now in serving in Mexico, but when I met him I was a mildly troubled teenager attending youth group just to make youth ministers suffer with my attitude and revolutionary inclinations (it was fun).
Today as fall reminds us of change, where the beauty of summer gets corrupted by the decaying colors of this season, I am grasping on Padre Paco's words.
Whenever I see a leaf about to fall from a tree, I remember Padre Paco, and I know the time has come to change, no matter how bad the leaf tries to hold on to the tree it won’t do any good to it, the leaf won’t get any greener, it won’t survive on its own, the time has come.
This leaf needs to fall, it needs to die, it needs to follow the wind, it must change the way it is, its colors, its role and its surroundings…its time has come!
Why do I run away from my own personal autumn? Can we relate to my question? I sometimes find myself holding on to people, ministries, places, situations, jobs, and responsibilities. I am afraid of change, I am afraid of what comes after autumn, I am afraid of the upcoming desolation and it’s ok, change is painful.
Do you think leaves don’t suffer when they see the anticipated autumn coming? How joyful they were on the first days of spring, they fed bugs, and accompanied fruits and flowers, they painted the world, and now, this is nothing but a memory, a season that passed by so quick.
They gave themselves purely and like nothing they slowly die, but isn’t it beautiful? Isn't Change beautiful? Isn’t it beautiful what their death brings upon? Just look around! A new color, a new spirit, a new face.
Can we let the wind take us and die like this? To ourselves, to our will, to our self-righteousness, to sin, wouldn’t it be also as beautiful what the autumn of dying to ourselves will bring upon?
It sounds easy to say, but to me is almost impossible to attain, and maybe this is impossible when I try to do it with my own strength, because conversion does not depend on how much we do, but how much we are willing to receive, how much we will it, desire it, and wait for it.
We have to wait like the leaves on a tree during fall, to slowly die to ourselves, with no resistance but remaining prayerful, in constant observation and dialogue with our Father, rediscovering who we are in him, and how fragile and dependent we have always been.
Sometimes it may seem like we are the last leaf on the tree, while everything else moves and changes, and yet we are still there, aware of a spiritual reality that is just not happening to us, but let us not despair, remember Padre Paco: “Not even the smallest leaf can move without God willing it”.
God also wants us to remain patient, it sucks most of the times, but it will come, all leaves have to fall before winter, in God’s time.
All leaves have to fall to become something even more beautiful, it is just God’s art, the art of changing, the art of dying, the art of being open to his plan, the art of observing God’s will in our lives and letting us be moved by it…just like the most humble leaf.
Lord, please make us miserable in the life we want to live, if it’s not from you.
So that we would beg for the life you will for us.
St Agustine and St Monica,
Pray for us.