The leaves are turning, the cold is coming, everything in nature is now moving toward hibernation, falling away, everything in nature is moving toward death.

Will we too follow the course of nature? For the Michaelmas question is, will our spirits also follow outer nature, fall like the leaves into this dying? Or will we have the strength to shine with heavenly light even though all around us is dark?

This is the essence of Michaelmas – that we practice lifting our spirit into life, even though all around us and in us is decaying – that we practice turning our spirit toward truth, even though there is so much untruth in us and around us. The essence of Michaelmas is that we strain to fill ourselves with love, even in the midst of so much hate and fear in us and around us.

And this means that even if we are accused, and attacked, even if the other does not deserve our love, even if we feel the hopelessness and depravity in our politics and in our culture, even though all of this is true, we are called to ‘wrest ourselves free from the load of sin and in thinking and willing join with Him’, directing our spirits to the love of Christ with all of our might.

Dear friends, ‘the darkness around us and in us is deep’, but the light of Joy is deeper. And ‘the heavenly light must vanish not’. Therefore in this darkening time let us make ourselves worthy to join Michael as disciples of Christ by burning into our hearts, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13)