5 Autumnal Opportunities to Grow in Christian Virtue – EpicPew

5 Autumnal Opportunities to Grow in Christian Virtue


My 7 summertime opportunities to grow in virtue article seemed to be a hit so here’s a follow up on that! Father John Bartunek wrote a book called Autumn Meditation so from there, this article will hit on some epic quotes. This article will discuss the unique particulars of this physical season (as opposed to Liturgical season) can enhance our private prayer life.

1. Having joy

Most people, Catholic or not, get happy from sugar. That’s what makes candy so appealing. And why low carb diets are hard to follow! Because we experience good feelings from fruit with their sugar content, that makes the fruit bearing season of autumn an opportunity to channel that joy to the joy we have in Jesus!

“The long hours of sweating in the summer heat yield to crisp fall air and the gathering of fruits. Grapes health on the vine, bunches of apples weighing down their branches, noble stalks of wheat shining golden in the autumn light, all eager to be gathering in. The vegetable gardens show off their prizes, pumpkins and squash and gourds of strange and wonderful shapes; watermelons and cantaloupes.” – Fr. Bartunek

Speaking of gardens, we have 2 saint quotes about Jesus being the gardener of our soul.

“When Mary Magdalene had seen the Lord and thought that he was the gardener, she was mistaken, indeed, in her vision, but the very error has its prototype. Truly, indeed, was Jesus the gardener of his paradise, of his trees of paradise.” – Saint Jerome

“Perhaps this woman was not as mistaken as she appeared to be when she believed that Jesus was the gardener. Was he not spiritually a gardener for her when he planted the fruitful seeds of virtue in her heart by the force of his love?” – St. Gregory the Great

2. Developing elegance

People naturally like ballroom dancing for its elegance. It’s written on our hearts to be drawn to elegance because God is not just all good and all love, but also all beautiful. In the saints, we have beauty and individuality like we do in the season of autumn.

“In those conditions, this created world reveals afresh its natural elegance, its poise and composure, its harmonious blend of inimitable individuality and shared complementarity.” – Fr. Bartunek

3. Acceptance

We often put on masks like being happy when we’re hurting inside. Or acting cool on the outside when we have fears about the future. Jesus wants us to bring to him our real selves. The real self we have deep within us. That is more colorful than all the green colors of summer that everyone gives out on the outside.

“The green leaves have done their job of producing food for the tree, and so the chlorophyll breaks down, surrendering its dominant green color to other pigments present in the leaves. Thus emerges the splendor of autumn, the silent symphony of yellow, gold, red, bronze, purple, and maroon colored leaves that flash out in their brilliance.” – Fr. Bartunek

4. Holy wisdom

“The fruit is transformed into preserves, the seed corn is piled high in the silos, and the wood is chopped, stacked, and made ready for the long cold months ahead. It is work of preparation that requires thinking long term.” – Fr. Bartunek

It would be foolish to not think of the future. Since we’re wise, we know that winter is around the corner! Just as we prepare for winter by gathering the autumn harvest, we can prepare ourselves spiritually for temporal down times. And most importantly, we prepare ourselves for the next life in heaven.

“Preparation for what is to come, and how we use the time allotted us here will have a proportionate impact on what we experience for all eternity. In his unforgettable parable of the talents, for instance, he draws a clear parallel between our earthly behavior and our heavenly reward…Jesus made it clear that we’re to keep the afterlife in mind while we endeavor to live life well here and now, just as we are to keep winter in mind as we enjoy the fall harvest.” – Fr. Bartunek

5. Sadness

“Even amidst the joys of the harvest, autumn always inspires a twinge of sadness. The glories of the autumn landscape are so short-lived. Soon the brilliant leaves lose their luster and fall to the ground. The lovely puddles of color they form under the trees are shortly scattered by the frosty winds. The produce has to be gathered and stored before the harsh winter comes. The stalks and vines, after offering up their fruits, dry out and wither away.” – Fr. Bartunek

What a way to end today’s article, huh?! Sadness is a part of life because sin, its consequences, and the Passion of our Lord Jesus develop sadness and regret, which if used correctly, enable a desire to do better and to enjoy gratitude for God’s mercy. We can experience sadness, but we need to know and embrace the joy that comes from the salvation of our Lord. 

“The love and humility that allow us to feel the pain and loss and injustice also open the door to hope. God has revealed that even though the crucifixion is real, so is the resurrection. Good Friday eventually yielded to Easter. Just so, healthy sadness makes us feel the goodness of the life more poignantly and moves us to invest our time and energy in things that will truly matter, things that will last forever and shine under the brilliant light of eternal life.” – Fr. Bartunek