Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

The Gossamer Legend

Now that the air is a little chiller, we know that autumn is just around the corner. Nature itself is preparing for its Lenten retreat and so are all His creatures. It is at this time that a number of spider young-lings hatch from their eggs. After their exoskeleton hardens, the spiders  find the highest point, release a strand of their silken web and let the wind carry them where it wills (You remember, like in Charlotte’s web). This silken thread of web is known colloquially as gossamer.

This delicate filmy cobweb, prevalent in the air and on the grass and bushes, especially in autumn, is explained in a fine legend. It is the delicate thread unraveling from the Blessed Virgin’s winding sheet, falling to earth in her assumption. The word itself, however, comes from “goose summer” which was a name for St. Martin’s summer because of the goose legend, which is another story![1]

Sometimes our legends are written by the poets whose explanations while implausible, are so beautiful we ignore the logic and just believe. Maybe today as you enjoy your autumn day you can take a moment to lay on the ground and stare up and name the shapes of the clouds. If you have forgotten how, just ask a toddler and they will re-teach you.

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it. (Luke 18:17)


[1] Klein, Rev. Peter, The Catholic Source Book (Harcourt Religion Publishers, 2000) p. 352

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