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Mary Eclipsing the Eclipse

Thank you dear Mother for taking me to where you wanted me on the Solemnity of the Annunciation. You always let me know where you want me with you on each of your feast days. This time, on April 8, 2024, it would be St. Patrick’s Basilica. What I learned only a week before is that a total solar eclipse would be happening the same day. That’s no coincidence. Comets, binary stars, galaxies, black holes and quasars. God created it all, beautifully made to display his infinite power. Within such majesty, He loves to play for us so we can gaze with constant childlike awe. It’s a never-ending abyss of intense grandeur. Carl Sagan said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” This time, close to home, He wanted His mother to eclipse the eclipse on the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The anniversary of your hearing Gabriel tell you, a virgin, that you would conceive by the Holy Spirit’s power, God’s Son, our Saviour Jesus, made a solar eclipse seem insignificant by compariso

St Gregory of Nyssa

The power of God is capable of finding hope where hope no longer exists, and a way where the way is impossible.

2 Cor 4: 16-18

Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

Enter November's Austerity With The Saints

Tamaracks cloaked in fiery yellow bring the fall colour parade to an end, standing boldly amid their stripped broad-leaf companions that briefly adorned the hills with tapestries of red, orange, yellow and brown.

Embrace November's stark beauty and silence with the saints. As the trees shed their leaves preparing for winter, we too must cast off our mind’s hustle and worries like leaves falling from silent trees. November’s silence can help us be still and listen to God’s voice.

It all starts with diminishing autumn day length signalling deciduous trees of earth’s temperate forests to prepare for winter. The production of the green pigment Chlorophyll slows down in each leaf gradually exposing the leaf’s hidden beauty of yellow, orange, and red.

An abscission layer of cork cells gradually forms at the base of each leaf, eventually closing the flow of nutrients to it. The leaf soon dies and falls or surrenders to the wind.

All this colour falling is the harsh reality of rejecting, abandoning and dying. Yet, with this vivid display of colour before shedding its leafy splendour, we witness creation singing praise to God. We too can join in this chorus of praise under a canopy of colour, as we prepare to enter November's austerity. 

When the air cools, lakes and rivers chill our bones, and winds snatch once vibrant leaves with their icy hands it’s time for us to cast away those golden leaves we cling to or cling to us.

Stark forests beckon with leafless branches, whispering, “Enter November’s silence. Enter the heart of Christ, the great and beautiful silence of His heart where Love will touch you and soothe your wounds of sin to unite them with His wounds from the cross that healed you and set you free.”

Love is our deepest, relentless yearning and November is the doorway leading us to the birth of Love, who satiates our thirst.

Enter With The Saints

The Church carries us into November with the feast of All Saints, reminding us of the great communion of saints and their illuminated, heavenly presence in our lives.

With the help of the saints, we can turn to Jesus with a deep listening heart paddling a kayak on a glassy lake or walking in silence along a forest trail.

Fall paddling Harris Bay, Bark Lake, ON
Bark Lake, ON

November’s austerity is everywhere calling us to join in its still stance before the Almighty. On one cold November walk in my youth along a treeless Toronto sidewalk, I felt God’s loving care surrounding me as I walked to St. Michael's Cathedral to pray to Him present in the Eucharist there.

Remember God's loving care surrounding us in November's austere beauty and silence. Through prayer, our hearts will open wider and wider. He will enter as we deepen our love for Him.

St Teresa of Calcutta:

“If we really want to pray we must learn to listen, for in the silence of the heart God speaks… When it is difficult to pray we must help ourselves to do so. The first means to use is silence, for souls of prayer are souls of great silence. We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence. God is the friend of silence. Let us adore Jesus in our hearts, who spent thirty years out of thirty-three in silence… who often retired alone to spend the night on a mountain in silence…Let us adore Jesus in the Eucharistic silence. We need to find God and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. See how nature, the trees, the flowers, the grass grow in perfect silence-see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…”

ACTS 4:11-12

"This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among human beings by which we must be saved."