Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

An Explosion of Celebrations

Monday, April 8, was a day to remember. It was jam-packed with celebrations. First of all, living in Cleveland, I was treated to the splendor of a solar eclipse. Moon pies and blackout forest cake were served for dessert the night before. People dressed in yellow and black. I played songs like “Moon River” and “You Are My Sunshine” on the piano.

After the eclipse, I watched the Guardians home opener game, in which they eclipsed the Chicago White Sox 4-0.

                  Liturgically, Monday was a fantastic day too. The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord was transferred to this day from March 25, which landed in Holy Week this year, which is centered on the Passion. Strangely, this year on the day we see the moon overshadow the sun, we celebrate the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary. Someone suggested making the celebration of the Incarnation a holy day of obligation. I agree. No incarnation, no resurrection for Jesus and us! The Annunciation also happens to be the patronal feast of us Sisters of Notre Dame. This is appropriate because we have a special devotion to Our Lady. We even adopt Mary or some form of it in our name.

In addition, it was the feastday of St. Julie Billiart, our spiritual mother because she died on April 8. At our noon meal in the Province Center, we had a contest to see which table could complete the words of Marian hymns first. The prizes were plastic eggs filled with candy or coins. We Sisters do have fun! By the way, St. Julie is known as the smiling saint, as in the painting of her here. Notice the medal she wears. It’s of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Solar Eclipse

                  That solar eclipse was spectacular. As one eleven-year-old boy said, “I would give a million dollars to see it again.” Gathered around our Village flagpole, through our special glasses we watched and waited in awe as the moon ever so slowly moved across the sun. Finally, when the orange sliver disappeared and we removed the special glasses, we saw the black orb with white rays shooting forth all around it. Nearby, Venus and Jupiter shone for us.

My photo of the eclipse over Notre Dame Village

                  We were specially privileged in that the cloudy skies predicted for our region dissipated before the eclipse I wonder how many people had prayed for clear blue skies like I did.

                  Witnessing this phenomenon, people had to realize that some divine power orchestrated the cosmos. The grandeur of space displayed this day makes us feel small but also grateful to be alive. A by-product of the event was that so many people were unified in focusing on it—thousands congregated shoulder to shoulder or chair to chair, staring at the sky. It reminded us that divisions are man made. In essence we are one human race. We have the same emotions and can thrill to the same marvels of Earth.

A Relevant Homily

                  Fr. Dan Schlegel’s homily that morning, the second Sunday of Easter, was pertinent. He reminded us that when Jesus died, there was a solar eclipse: darkness over all the earth. He pointed out that more amazing than a solar eclipse was Jesus’s resurrection. Jesus, the Son of God, comes in brilliant light. He, the light of the world, overcomes darkness.

                  Not everyone understood his light at first—like Mary Magdalene, who assumed he was the gardener, and the puzzled apostles, who can’t interpret the empty tomb. St. Paul was blinded by the light of Christ.  It sometimes takes a while to realize who Jesus is. Father concluded, that as we gaze at the eclipse of the sun, “Don’t forget to gaze into the other Son’s light too—because that Son has the power to dazzle you, to inspire you, and to change your life forever.”

                  Coincidentally, the day’s morning prayer included a canticle in which we prayed, “Sun and moon, bless the Lord. Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.”

                  One of my favorite songs is “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” from the movie of the same title. Naturally it is about St. Francis. Here is a version of the song:

• What is your favorite way to celebrate?

• When have you been bowled over by a nature scene?

2 Responses

  1. Great blog this week on the eclipse!! I know who you were referring to in a yellow and black outfit! My crazy sister Michelle! I really enjoy this weekly blog . I usually share it at my Thursday Bible Study. Thank you Sister Kathleen!

    Laura A

    1. Thanks for sharing my blog, Laura. I love your sister’s craziness. On her door she has a big, yellow sun she put eclipse glasses on!

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Jesus depends on us to spread the Good News of God’s love, offering the world hope and joy. Mary Kathleen, a Sister of Notre Dame from Chardon, Ohio, responds through writing, speaking, giving retreats, and teaching. Her motto, adopted from Eddie Doherty’s gravesite, is “All my words for the Word.”

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