Harvest Moon

harvest moon - photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

I have always loved the harvest moon. In my two-stoplight hometown, it was always a big event. The rising of this enormous, orange moon heralded the last days to harvest all of the crops that needed to be brought in before the hard frost. With all hands on deck, the days surrounding this moon were a frenzy of picking, pulling, baling, canning, and hauling into the barn and the root cellar. The harvest moon emitted such a brilliant orange glow that, had it been a good growing year, everyone would work in rhythm well past dinnertime into the night. There was simply no time to delay, because the frost would arrive like clockwork on the heels of this moon. Even as a child, I was in awe of how the timing of this moon always worked out in perfect harmony with the harvest.

This year, the harvest moon fell on October 1. The readings at Mass that weekend paralleled the harvest. The Gospel, Matthew 21:33–43, was the parable of the tenants, which begins with “a landowner who planted a vineyard.” What struck me as I listened to this Gospel passage were the action verbs about this landowner, God, who planted the vineyard, who dug a winepress, and built a tower. Undoubtedly, my awareness of these actions by a God who works the earth was heightened as this Gospel fell on the weekend of the harvest moon.

As I reflected on the Gospel further, I couldn’t help but think of the words of St. Ignatius, who speaks of a God who labors on behalf of his beloved children:

I will consider how God labors and works for me in all the creatures on the face of the earth; that is, he acts in the manner of one who is laboring. For example, he is working in the heavens, elements, plants, fruits, cattle, and all the rest—giving them their existence, conserving them, concurring with their vegetative and sensitive activities, and so forth. (SE 236, Ganss)

We have a God who is living and active and who labors for us. The annual timing of that harvest moon is no coincidence. The God who labors for us calls this illuminating moon up on those particular nights when the crops have matured to aid us in harvesting and storing up these gifts that sustain us in the long, barren months of winter.

After Mass that evening, I breathed deeply of the crisp air as I caught sight of the warm glow of that familiar harvest moon rising behind the trees. A giddy joy bubbled up and settled within me as a placid pond. I was filled with a reassurance that the God of all creation labors for and with us. It’s a message I needed to hear, a message we all need to hear right now. Our God is living and active. Our God hears us. Our God is still with us, laboring for us. We are not alone.

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash.

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Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She has been trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through Fairfield University’s four-year formation program. Rebecca served in refugee resettlement for nearly 15 years and has also worked as an ethnomusicologist, composer, and writer. She and her husband have two sons and live at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. She strives, as St. Ignatius taught, to see God in all things and do “all things for the greater glory of God.”


  1. Fine reflection. Thanks Rebecca. God is laboring all the time and we are the precious fruit of the Almighty’s labor.

    • Hi Dr. Coelho,
      Thank you for faithfully reading and for your thoughtful comments. Yes, God is laboring all the time and we are a very precious fruit of God’s labor.

  2. Very beautiful! I live where it supposed to be Spring and this week when some were trying to harvest, we have had a cold snap and heavy rain, and huge winds and some places hail ; so in some parts of Australia, their crops have been ruined, so sad , as they have been in drought for some years. God gave us a beautiful planet, but many have not cared for it and have destroyed so much by their greed. Your beautiful Reflection,
    brings back some happy memories from my childhood. Thank you and God Bless you in your work. A.M.D.G.

    • Hi Meg,
      Thank you for reading and for your kind words. I’m glad to hear that some happy memories arose as you read. My prayers for you and also for the farmers there in Australia.

  3. Thank you for such an uplifting reflection. It has been a difficult seven months for all of us. I was born in July therefore a moon child and have always been fascinated with the full moon. I look forward to this weekend’s”blue moon”.
    I will look at it with new eyes of God’s gift of creation reassured of his love for me and confident he is watching over my family and be less anxious for our future.

    • Hi Kristine,
      Thank you for your kind words. I hope you’ve been enjoying this blue moon – yet another sign of God’s love for us!


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