September 29th thru October 7th is one of my favorite stretches of the entire year. On the natural level, the fall foliage is approaching its peak. Just walking the dog or driving out to buy milk becomes an exercise in joy, as sky and trees compete with one another to astound us mortals with their beauty. Liturgically, we get a string of beloved feasts: The Holy Archangels, St. Therese, The Holy Guardian Angels, St. Francis of Assisi, and Our Lady of the Rosary.
The only downside to this time of year is something I call on both my Guardian Angel and St. Francis to assist me with. Anyone who drives through the farms, meadows and forests of northwest Pennsylvania these next ten weeks runs a huge risk of hitting a deer. It’s mating season among our hoofed and antlered furry friends. The boys are (literally) chasing the girls, and no one is watching where they are going. True, deer never pay much attention to cars in the best of times, but they are twice as careless in the autumn. The roadside body count goes up dramatically this time of year. Along with insurance claims.
My first close encounter came yesterday morning on the way home from mass. This photo is almost identical to what I experienced:
|photo credit: hungeree.com|
Except that I was a lot closer than this before the buck got to the other side of the road. I reflected that if, as I was leaving, our pastor had clearly heard a remark I called out to him and had NOT asked me to repeat it, I would have been a second or two closer to this creature and something terrible might have happened. At church we had just said this prayer twice, once at mass and once at the end of lauds, which we say every Tuesday and Thursday after mass:
O God, who in your unfathomable providence are pleased to send your holy Angles to guard us, hear our supplication as we cry to you that we may always be defended by their protection and rejoice eternally in their company.
|picture credit: 1up.com|
St. Francis comes up tomorrow. Our pastor does a blessing of animals on this day. I’m going to ask him, when he’s through with our dogs and cats, to extend his hands towards the woods and ask St. Francis to bless all those deer out there as well. Just by way of giving our guardian angels a hand.
Any Divine Office questions this week? I’ll anticipate this one. To celebrate a memorial, use the psalms from the current weekday (unless otherwise prescribed. The Guardian Angels were one of the “otherwise prescribed”, since it was given the full feast treatment with its own antiphons and psalms from Sunday week I. ), then go to the Common of Saints for the rest, substituting from the proper of saints anything that is set down for the saint’s day.