"The first lesson that the Year of the Lord teaches is, appropriately, a paradox — it begins as the natural year ends. As such, it teaches us to watch for the signs of a beginning when, to all appearances, the world seems the least promising.

"The fall of the year in nature and in the liturgical calendar is a rich and nuanced drama, a perilous and turbulent time, full of conflict, when the seen and unseen worlds come together. The dynamics of the fall of the year have the sweep of a great symphony or an epic poem. From the vast conflict of light and dark, the greater powers of night and quiet emerge.

"Savor the word — fall. At this time, we watch the fall of the reign of summer, a great triumph moves deep into a darkness full of danger, promise, and mystery. We pass through a wild night of apparitions into a quiet that grows deeper until it is infused with the lights of candles and stars. Time narrows down until it comes to its turning point, as all creation holds its breath in the silent night and waits for the entry of something new and unimaginable."