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August 21, 2017  

(Gen 1:14-15) And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth, and it was so done.


Eclipse Live Stream
See How the Solar Eclipse Will Look From Anywhere in the U.S.
During Eclipse, 'Your Eye Can Scorch'

CATHOLIC EXCHANGE: Mary and the Great American Solar Eclipse

FR RICHARD HEILMAN: Striking Phenomena During this Centennial Year of Fatima

EXCERPT ALETEIA: The Surprising Liturgical Coincidence of the Solar Eclipse

While the upcoming solar eclipse may not be a sign of the “end times,” it does occur on a significant day and year of the Church’s liturgical calendar.

The eclipse will occur on August 21. The primary feast for this day is Saint Pius X, a pope who chose the motto “to renew all things in Christ.” He is most well known for lowering the age of Holy Communion and said, “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”

Another celebration on August 21 in the Church’s calendar is Our Lady of Knock. It was on August 21, 1879 that the Virgin Mary appeared to 15 people in a small parish church in Ireland. Three figures appeared, that of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. Furthermore, a witness described, “Above the altar and resting on it was a lamb and around it I saw golden stars, or small brilliant lights, glittering like jets or glass balls, reflecting the light of some luminous body.” Additionally, “a farmer in the distance, about half a mile away from the scene, went out to have a look at his land. He saw something that attracted his attention; he described what he saw as a large globe of golden light.”

What’s interesting is that Our Lady of Knock spoke no words as at other of her appearances. Soon after, cures were reported at the site of the apparition and Our Lady of Knock is still strengthening the faith of the Irish and other devotees from around the world.

Last of all the solar eclipse occurs during the year of the 100th anniversary of Fatima. The famous apparitions of Mary ended with one last “Miracle of the Sun” that occurred on October 13, 1917. People describe what they saw that day as the sun “dancing” in the sky; they were able to gaze at the sun without hurting their eyes. It was a miracle witnessed by thousands of people.

In Christian symbolism the moon is often seen as a symbol of the Virgin Mary, since it reflects the light of the sun just as she reflects the light of the Son of God. At the same time, in Revelation she is described as, “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet” (Revelation 12:1).

All of these events and symbolism can come to mind on Aug. 21 as we enjoy the eclipse (take the needed precautions to protect your eyes!), remembering Mary’s role in Salvation History. She is the one in whom we find refuge in times of trial and who intercedes on our behalf.

A MOMENT WITH MARY: In Knock, the Virgin appeared with Saint Joseph and Saint John

On the rainy Thursday evening of August 21, 1879, at about 9 o'clock in the evening, at Knock Mhuire (County Mayo, Ireland), Mary McLoughlin, 45, and Mary Byrne, 29, saw a vision of the Virgin at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. Surprised, the women alerted several others in the village. Sixteen more people ran to the place and all of them saw the Virgin for nearly two hours. Those who left and later returned continued to witness the apparition.

The Virgin stood about two feet from the ground. She was clothed in white robes with a brilliant crown on her head. She was in an attitude of prayer. Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist stood at her side. The witnesses also saw an "altar" with a lamb and a cross. Although the witnesses standing before the gable were drenched, no rain fell in the direction of the gable. The apparition was fully silent, and physical cures followed it.

On the altar, the sacrificial Lamb evokes the sacrifice of Calvary, made present every day during Mass. Saint John the Evangelist appeared as a priest, designating Mary present at the foot of the Cross given by Christ as his Mother to the disciple by the words: "Woman, behold, your Son." Each one of us is called to become a member of Christ, and to participate with him and Mary in the mystery of Redemption.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

16. A fox pretends to be asleep, and the body and demons pretend to be chaste; the former in order to deceive a bird, and the latter in order to destroy a soul.

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