Catholic at Home: Autumn Reset

Jennifer Antkowiak

It made my heart so happy to host an online mini-retreat this past Wednesday evening.  The purpose of the Autumn Reset was to develop an action plan that refreshes participants and inspires them to create a calm, fulfilling remainder of the year.

Nearly 200 people registered, which affirmed a need. They described feeling rundown, overwhelmed, even burned-out. That, of course, is not how any of us want to feel as we prepare to head into the joyful seasons of Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas.

Adding to the tension, we are hearing messages urging us to “Shop Now!” because global supply chain issues and postal delays may strain our gift-giving and mailing.

It’s a good time of year to press the pause button and reset our focus. We need to hold tight to the things that matter the most.

We started our retreat with a prayer that called each of us to invite God into our mess.  We talked about how we’re not wired to do that.  If I invited you to my house, I’d make sure everything was straightened up, I would set out some flowers and snacks. 

God doesn’t want us to wait until we think that things are “perfect” to invite Him into our homes and our hearts.  He doesn’t mind a mess. In fact, He wants to help us “clean things up.”

If you’d like to do your own little “Autumn Reset,” start by simply asking yourself, “How do I feel right now?” Then, ask yourself, “What would help me feel better—healthier, happier, restored, energized?”

For example, if you feel tired, you probably need rest; and if you feel lonely, you probably need to reach out to a friend. If you feel stressed, then quiet time alone might be an effective self-care strategy.  

But the most important thing is to start and end these reflections with prayer.  Invite Jesus into the “little moments” of your day. Place your burdens on Him. Experience His comforting guidance, and the peace that comes with it. 

Here’s the prayer we said in our Autumn Reset retreat.  I hope it helps to refresh and inspire you.

Dear God,

The struggles and demands feel intense some days. We sometimes feel exhausted and discouraged. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, and that’s frustrating. Please help us to remember that You are near.

Thank You for being our refuge and our strength.  Help us to trust You more, to stop wasting so much time just spinning our wheels, distracted and worried. Please help us to first lift our eyes to You. Forgive us for the moments we haven’t come before You.

Fill us with the power of Your Holy Spirit—with Your strength, Your peace, Your joy. Fill us with Your spiritual wisdom and the constant reminders of Your presence.  

We ask for Your healing over every part of our lives:  physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, socially. We ask that you make us strong and resilient for the days ahead. 

Help us to realize that by taking care of ourselves, we are better able to reflect Your love and light to a world that so desperately needs Your hope.