I hope no one looked at Monday’s eclipse without adequate protection.
In the little town of Knock in Ireland, they celebrated the conclusion of a Novena on the 21st, because it is the anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance. For several hours in 1879, during a driving rainstorm, a small crowd of people were transfixed by brightly luminous apparition of three people: the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist.
Along with them appeared “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.”
Neither Our Lady, nor any of the other apparitions spoke. But in that light and silence, the people knew that blessing was available. Soon, miraculous cures were reported at the site of the apparition.
I’ve mentioned it so often, there is no way you couldn’t know that this year is also the centenary of Fatima which ended with the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917. A crowd of 70,000 watched as the sun danced in the sky, and they were able to gaze at the sun without hurting their eyes. In Christian symbolism the moon is 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) [And Christ is referred to 28 times as “the Lamb” in Revelation].
These events and symbols help us to realize that we inhabit a world in which Our Father takes an active part, and remind us of Mary’s role in Salvation History. She is the one who comes to us and calls to us in times of trial and who intercedes on our behalf.
Pope Francis, in speaking about the life of Christ as told in the Gospels pointed out the Mary’s silence after Christ’s childhood, her silent witness of the crucifixion: “the sacred writers suggest this slow eclipsing of her presence, her remaining silent before the mystery of a Son who obeys the Father. However, Mary reappears precisely at the crucial moment: when a large number of friends disperse out of fear. Mothers do not abandon.”
At the darkest hour, Mary stands in silent witness, interceding for us. Our Blessed Lady is always there in our need, and she stands with us in this “vale of tears.” She may be silent, but she comforts us in our sorrow and reminds us that the Son has risen.