Thursday 17 November 2022

‘Frosts and cold, O bless the Lord’

The weather forecasters tell us that this year is particularly unusual as the Autumn months have not had one frost when usually two or three are the norm. The spring bulbs might be a bit later as a result. The traditional picture is, of course, of Autumn being that season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, cooling down to the frosty winter snows and a white Christmas. It is, in any year, seldom the case.

There is a neat parallel with our lives in this. Often we think that things are mapped out neatly or are plainly predictable and in such a case we know how to respond. But if we are honest, it is rarely the case. Just as we should make the most of the fair weather while it is with us, so in our moral and spiritual life we must take the opportunity to grow in good habits whilst there is a fair wind behind us. Cultivating good habits of prayer, working on the virtues, asking for the graces we need now will help us weather the hard times when they come all the better. Everything is a grace, and most things are opportunities. The spring flowers might be a bit late but bloom they will.

The canticle of the three young men in the fiery furnace from the Book of Daniel, sung at Sunday Lauds, reminds us that even the frosts and cold give glory and praise to their maker. How well the frosts and cold of our life can give glory and praise to God largely depends on how well we have prepared for them. “The hour is late, but the time for doing good is not over yet” — or so St Philip taught his friends. Thank God for mild autumns and for the opportunities he grants us to grow in virtue. We just have to take them.

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