It seems to me at the moment that there are basically two ways of experiencing this season: with or without a cold. If a man does not have a cold the brisk air invigorates him, he looks at the falling leaves and so on as it where from above, contrasting the decay of nature with his own unconquered life. It seems to him that his destiny is not with the passing things of this world, but with the eternal things of heaven, who changing all things remain themselves unchanged. If he has a cold on the other hand (as I do at the moment) then he sees himself as part of the season, as caught up in the decay of all things, as very much mortal and subject to death, and his impulse is to pull the covers over his head and go to sleep till it’s all over…

There is, of course, a certain truth in both ways of experiencing it – man is both mortal and (in a way) immortal – but there is a danger of deception in both ways as well.

The Commemoration of All Soul’s in November is of course chiefly ordered to helping the poor souls in Purgatory, but in a secondary way it is also to help us – to remind us that we are mortal and that we must prepare ourselves to meet our judge. But the proper response to this reminder is not to go to sleep, but (as the liturgical readings keep reminding us at this time of year) to stay awake and watch…

2 thoughts on “Fall

  1. Hello and Good Evening!

    Greetings from Kloster Mehrerau. Dear Pater Edmund, forgive me for being a little nosey, but where did you learn you English? If you are American or even better Canadian, Australian, New Zealander, or best of all British, then I’d love to meet up when I’m in Heiligenkreuz over the weekend (20th Nov. ff). You have probably heard of me by now, as I think that I am the first ever British student that the Hochschule had.

    All the best,

    Pater Raphael.


    • Hello Pater Raphael! I learned English from my American mother. Do you know, I was just in the Mehrerau on Friday for Vespers? (On the way to Hauterive for the blessing of the new Abbot). I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday: I have indeed heard a lot about you.


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