The following meditation is written by Ann Braudis, M.M. for participants in the Maryknoll Advanced Missionary Discipleship Formation Seminar "Exploring Our Call in Caring for Creation." The seminar was held in Los Altos, California, August 7-11, 2017. Find more meditations by Sister Ann Braudis here.
August 21, 2017
On that day, says the Lord God,
I will make the sun go down at noon,
And darken the Earth in broad daylight. (Amos 8:9)
Our ancestors in faith could not help but notice the eclipse of the sun and attribute to it great spiritual importance in alignment with what they understood at the time. In our own day, we understand more about how the eclipse happens from the discipline of science and experience awe and reverence before its profound expressions of beauty and intelligence.
Since our faith tradition continues to unfold through us, we encourage each other to consciously bring into our prayer and ritual expression our deepest gratitude for the Cosmos, in its established order and in its continual emergence. The solar eclipse provides an elegant opportunity to do so.
Suggestions for prayer and ritual:
Gather: Eclipse glasses or eye protection and a camera for catching facial expressions after the eclipse has passed.
Offer words of thanksgiving and blessing for these items that either enable us to see the eclipse or to bear witness to the experience of awe as seen in the faces of others just after the eclipse has passed.
Prayer from Laudato Sí':
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
Teach us to contemplate you
In the beauty of the Universe, for all things speak of you.
The eclipse is a reminder that the entire Universe exists in bonded relationship. In The Universe Story, authors Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry write, “Bonding is the perdurable fact of the Universe and happens primevally in each fresh instant, a welling up of an inescapable togetherness of things. (p. 25.)
Read Psalm 148: (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness)
Praise the Blessed One!
Give praise from the heavens,
And from all ends of the Earth!
Give praise all you angels,
Angels of Earth and of heaven!
Give praise sun and moon,
Give praise all you shining stars!
Give praise all universes,
The whole cosmos of Creation!
Praise the Blessed One!
For through Love all was created
And firmly fixed for ever and ever;
Yes, the pattern of creation was established.
Give praise to the Beloved
All the Earth,
All that swim in the deep,
And all the winged ones in the air!
Give praise all mountains and hills,
All trees and minerals!
Give praise all four-legged
And all that creep on the ground!
Leaders of the nations and all peoples,
Young and old,
Give praise! Unite together in all your diversity,
That peace and harmony might flourish on Earth!
Let all people praise the beloved!
Who is exalted in heaven and on Earth
Whose glory is above heaven and Earth.
For all are called to be friends,
Companions to the true Friend,
Giving their lives joyfully as
Co-creators and people of peace!
Praises be to the Blessed One,
The very breath of our breath,
The heart of our heart!
Sharing of thoughts, prayer and petitions:
Prayer: (Laudato Sí')
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
For every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
To everything that is.
Glory to You,
Source of all being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen