Eternal Spring                                                                                                                                                                                         by Rev. Robert J. Hermley

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If one travels the roads of our country even just a few times during the four seasons of the year, they will, indeed, be treated to a great spectacle of beauty.  How can words adequately describe the great beauty one beholds as they drive along the nations' highways as the season of spring begins?

Spring is a very beautiful time of the year, when all of the earth seems to come alive again after a dull, dreary cold, and gray winter.  The trees begin to sprout buds and the flowers begin to bloom and to produce their multicolored blossoms.  All over the land one can feel the newness and warmth that spring radiates.  The egg reminds us that a new chick is on its way, and spring reminds us that Easter is also very near - a time when Christ died and then rose to bring to all the world a newness of grace and a paradise of soul that can last forever if we choose to plant ourselves in the friendship of God's sunlight and in the field of His word.  Spring is a true reminder of Easter, when man kind can rise from the coldness and frost of disregard of God to the beginning of a never ending spring in his heart which can keep the new buds and blossoms of our love for God alive eternally.

Spring is a happy season.  The birds return to the land and sing their lovely songs to anyone who will listen to their sweet melodies.  The birds are happy and want to share their inner feelings of joy with all the world.  Every spring hope, love, and beauty rise up everywhere and bring unbridled joy to every person who stops to smell the freshness of the flowers and beholds the wonders God forms and decorates every year at this time.  Spring is a season when the generous Creator takes all the colors of the rainbow and sprinkles them miraculously and generously over the landscapes of the countryside, He is, indeed, the true Sower with the seed.  Yes, spring is a season one can accept eternally.

Then comes the summer with all of its flowers brought to fruition.  It brings with it a spectacular moment of a whisper or promise of the Paradise that Adam lost.  For just a moment, God permits us to see Eden, and long for it, and to keep a remembrance of it deep within our souls.  In the warmth of summer, everything turns green and beautiful.  The sun is there, vacation beckons, and everything breathes peace and tranquility.  Even the warm summer mornings and evenings give us a friendly nudge to revive our spirits.  Everything is colorful; all is especially beautiful.  It is, indeed, a small taste of Paradise, albeit a fleeting one.  I am sure we have all wished at one time or another that summer would last longer than it actually does.  Surely, the carefree feeling of summer and the freedom from classroom work has often tempted many a youth to wish for an eternity of summer; but in the real world of everyday life, we know it can never be.

Then comes autumn.  The leaves lose their chlorophyll and the chemistry the Creator placed within the leaves and trees begins to work its magic.  Once again, very briefly, the world is treated to a spectacular splash of color, in which God shows us how He can change things from the ordinary to the outstanding when they take their natural course under the care of His ever guiding hand.  Finely, the leaves die gracefully as Cyranno de Bergerac once noted.  Yes - they know how to die.  A little way from the branch to the earth, a little fear of mingling with the common dust - and yet they go down gracefully . . .

They cling to the tree for a moment, let go and gently fall to the ground.  There they lie like crumples messages, reminding us that winter is about to return.

Then the winter comes upon us, and although it is often gray, dreary and quite too long, just every so often, nature, through the finger of God, creates an almost indescribable spectacle of beauty in a winter wonderland of snow.  What a sight early in the morning to see a heavy snowfall blanket and cover the the earth where no one has yet walked and nothing has yet disturbed its freshness. The frost creates a thin coating of ice on every branch of the tree and once in a a while an icicle dangles from a branch or two, reminding us of a miniature scene from a Christmas tree.  What could be more spectacular than to behold a street lined with trees covered with snow and stretching their branches across to the other side, making it look as though the trees were shaking hands with each other, congratulating one another on the beauty they created in a tunnel-like fantasy driveway?

What designs God creates with the seasons.  It is as if He says to us, "Let Me touch you with My love, and I will make you as beautiful as the seasons you behold.  Let Me touch you with My grace and I will turn you into a beautiful field decorated with the colors of My mercy.  Each season, I will transform you with a new beauty - if you will be My people and let Me be your God."  So the winter, although hazardous to us in driving, nevertheless presents to us a spectacle of beauty that is created solely by the touch of God year after year.

As I travel the roads sometimes in winter, watching the trees and ground covered with snow, it makes me think that deep beneath the earth that is so cold and frosty now, beneath the trees and shrubs and flower beds of last year's summer, there lies the seeds of next spring's flowers which will bring to the world all the beauty of a new and glorious spring in just a few more months.

I am constantly reminded that such a scene is very much like the world in which we live day by day.  It contains souls grown cold and alienated from the warmth of God's love.  There are so many souls in the world covered with frost.  They are cold not only to God, but to their fellowmen.  They are locked frozen in their sins and selfish ways; rapped up in themselves, they have insulated their lives from the sunlight which is trying desperately to penetrate the frost in order to begin an early spring.

Yet, underneath this frost and chill of their hearts lies the seed of a new spring if they would only be receptive to the Son Who tires to get through to begin the germination process.  As the cold winter ground thaws and gives way to the new season of spring, so can these cold hearts, selfish and untutored in the love of Christ, begin to grow if only they would permit the warmth of the son of God to work its way through the layers of sin to the seed which lies within each of them.  The Prodigal Son began his springtime when he confessed to his father that he had sinned against heaven and against his father.  The prodigal heart can begin its Easter resurrection when it repeats the same message to a kind and loving Father who waits for his return in the confessional - and what a kind and generous Father He is, who waits.  He will warm the ground of the wasteful heart and make the flowers of the soul bud forth; and He will produce a spring within the heart that never needs to come to an end.  Seasons in the external world of life must come and go, but God has made the soul in such a way that spring can last forever in the sunlight of His grace nourished by the seed of the Sower's word.  Indeed, the Earth's seasons must work according to the laws of nature but within man's soul, there can be perpetual spring.  Only sin can destroy our perpetual spring, and even then, it can be restored by a good and sincere confession.  Faithfulness to God's commandments and loyalty - fierce loyalty to His Church and to His Vicar on earth can assure us that spring can, indeed, last forever within each one of us.