Fall is Here! Now that Fall is officially here, let's celebrate by creating a wreath that incorporates two common symbols of this season: the sunflower and apples. As we look ahead to the months of October and November, months that complete and finish the liturgical year, these two symbols in nature can connect our thoughts to the liturgy and the final "gathering in."
Sunflowers Sunflowers are the symbol of obedience. They spend their entire day simply turning their faces towards the sun. Wherever it goes, they follow. It is such a simple and honest action. There is no hiding or subterfuge. They, with their broad, open faces, are completely transparent. They challenge us to do the same. Do we travel through our days with our heads down, not looking to the Son? Do we seek God's presence throughout the hours of the week? Do we look for him in spite of clouds and rain?
Apples Apples, on the other hand, were originally the symbols of disobedience. The apple, for one reason or another, is the fruit typically portrayed as what Eve plucked from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, the first act of turning from God. This action set in motion the chasm between God and ourselves, and handed onto all of us Original Sin. Yet, the apple has a happy ending. Because God did not leave us to our own devices, but instead responded with mercy - first by establishing the covenants with Israel and then by giving us the New and Eternal Covenant in Jesus Christ - the apple was transformed. Now, the apple is linked to learning. Yes, learning takes work now and is not effortless and delightful. However, all learning - even if it is not explicilty and overtly about God - can reveal him and his ways, if pursued with humility. St. Pio, for example, used to kneel when he did his studies as he recognized that learning algebra was still glorifying God.
As the school begins again and thousands of students of all ages take up their studies again, in whatever form or fashion that may be in this most unusual year, let us be intentional in why we study and look to the sunflower and apple to inspire us to pursue obedience and true wisdom.