Something gold remains



What a month October is! Geraniums, coleus, peppers and other garden plants reach their peak, enjoying those last warm days before they are nipped by an early frost. Though the days can still be hot, the night’s cool air invites open windows; the sound of a distant train; a croaking bullfrog; or, yes, even an early morning cock-a-doodle-doo through the backyard woods. Trees shine in their glory as leaves turn translucent reds, yellows and oranges before dropping their year’s attire. Even the harvest moon appears larger and brighter in the night sky. October is a month of blessings before we approach the dead of winter.

The month also signals a slow down after the frenetic pace of summer. With darkness arriving much sooner, there is less pressure to take that late three mile hike. I am more apt to pick up that book I meant to read all summer or sit on my porch and enjoy the approach of evening. However, for all its glory, October evokes a twinge of sadness as it is a harbinger of our own limits and the beginning of the end of another year. Robert Frost captured it well in his poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay:”

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf,

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.


Yet, as Father Sebastian White said in this month’s “Magnificat,” “While the natural world begins to display the reality of death, the Church focuses our attention on the dignity and goodness of life.” Besides honoring Mary, October is also Respect Life Month and the month of the Rosary. October sports a cast of heavy-hitting saints. It opens with a Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Liseiux; followed by The Holy Guardian Angels feast day on Oct. 2; St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4; St. Faustina, Jesus’ messenger of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, on Oct. 5; and Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7. And that’s just the first week!

Saints are our models of holiness and our reminders that this world passes in a minute compared to life eternal. God grants us free will so that we become the masters of our fate, and saints’ lives encourage us to walk the path of God’s precepts.

Just as we are all different even among families, each saint was graced with a particular personality:  some fiery; others placid; some outgoing; others shy; some outspoken; others more reticent. However, each discovered their unique path to holiness. We cannot become holy alone. As the well-known St. Vincent de Paul once said, “But for divine grace I would be in temper hard and repellant, rough and crabbed.”

God knows our talents and our faults. It is only with His divine intervention that we can reach the heights of glory. Our own parish recently lost two beautiful Christian women, both named Mary. In their individual ways, they emulated their divine namesake. While different in temperament, they shared a passion for serving the Lord In their actions, their words and their evangelization. There are saints among us.

On one hand, Robert Frost is correct. Nothing of earthly gold remains. In the end, all beauty, wealth, and power goes by the way of the grave. But, Frost was speaking only in earthly terms.

God is love. Therefore, love is eternal. In the end, that is the only gold that matters. As winter approaches let us take the time to befriend the saints. They are our reminders that our lives are better when spent cultivating the only treasure of importance – life in heaven with the Trinity. Amen.