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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Prayer for the Total Solar Eclipse

Some of us will experience a total eclipse of the sun on Monday, April 8, 2024. The Cleveland, Ohio area is in its direct path. We will be privileged to witness this astronomical phenomenon from 1:59.20 PM to 4:28.57 PM (EST) (How’s that for pinpoint accuracy!) Even if our typical April weather (clouds and rain) blot out the sun for us (there’s a 60% chance of that), we will still experience at 3:15 PM 3 mins. and 49 secs. of total darkness. Plus we and you can follow this eclipse on TV and many websites as its path is tracked live across North America.

Total solar eclipses are rare. The last one in our area was in 1806; the next one here will be in 2444! For all of us in this area, then, April 8th is the total eclipse of our lifetime. Millions of people are expected to flood into the path of the eclipse as it makes its way across North America. Hotels have been booked for months. Most schools in our area are closed to lesson the road congestion. Police, hospitals, and other safety personnel will be working overtime to insure safety for this large influx of people. Those of us living here have been warned to stock up on food ahead of time and, if possible, stay home.

Here’s how a solar eclipse “works” in case you’ve forgotten what you learned in your sixth grade science class!

I think it’s very appropriate for us to celebrate this “cosmic spiritual event.” To do that, I have written a special prayer for the solar eclipse. It is a modification of beautiful Psalm 8. As you will see, I have adapted the psalm to our northeast Ohio region, inserting some of the plants and animals common to our area. If you’re praying this far from Cleveland, you might want to insert some of the flora and fauna common to your area. I have also added a few lines to the psalm to commemorate this total solar eclipse.

Psalm 8 (adapted)

O Creator God, your majesty fills the earth.

Your glory is higher than the heavens.

You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,

silencing all who oppose you.

When we look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers,

the moon and stars you have set in place,

what are we, mere mortals, that you should keep us in mind?

Who are we, human beings, homo sapiens, that you should care for us?

Yet you have made us a little less than the angels,

You have crowned us with glory and honor.

You have made us your stewards of creation, putting all things under our care:

Oceans and rivers, buckeye and maple trees, soybeans and sweet corn, strawberry plants and grape vines,

Sheep and alpacas, chickens and cows, cats and dogs…

And all the untamed animals… the birds of the air:

robins, cardinals, blue birds, eagles, Canada geese.

All the other fellow animals who share our world with us:

squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, coyotes, white-tailed deer.

And all the creatures who swim in our lakes and streams: walleye, yellow perch, rainbow trout.

And all who live in our vast oceans: from teeny weeny plankton to humongous blue whales.

And today, Loving Creator, you have blessed us

with this astronomical event, a total solar eclipse,

when Brother Sun and Sister Moon play together in the sky,

reminding us of the splendor of your finely tuned cosmos,

and that we are part of something far bigger and greater than we can imagine.

Emphasizing once again our oneness with each other,

and calling our attention to the beauty and wonder of both light and darkness in our lives.

And for us Christians, giving us a powerful astronomical symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

O Loving Creator God, how awesome is your name throughout the cosmos!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

as it was in the beginning, is now, and every shall be, world without end! Amen!


PS: For the fun of it, here’s a cookie eclipse:

Our video is the song “God Of Wonders” (Lord of all Creation.) It was originally recorded by the band Caedmon’s Call. Nearly 100 other artists have since recorded this song. I chose this version because it has the lyrics and some stunning visuals–from lowly daisies to the sun and moon and vast array of planets and stars!

I invite you to add a comment below–about your experience of an eclipse or something similar… your preparation for this particular eclipse if you are anywhere near its path…or any other observations. Our readers (and I!) really appreciate your comments!

34 Responses

  1. How creative to insert some of the northeast Ohio plants and animals into this beautiful Psalm! Thank you! It will be an exciting event.

    1. Annie, And I even inserted chipmunks–in your honor! (readers, Annie loves chipmunks…) And yes, an exciting event for all who witness it! Melannie

  2. Good morning, Sr. Melannie…
    Good morning, all…

    “When brother sun and sister moon play with each other in the sky…” What a perfect way to describe an eclipse! And the two dates you mention — 1806 and 2444 — makes April 8th “must see” sky gazing! I believe it was Emerson who said that if the stars came out but once every thousand years, the entire world would be outside looking up (not an exact quote!). April 8th is sort of the same thing, a truly once in a lifetime event! Thank you God!

    1. John, The phrase “Brother Sun and Sister Moon” is my tribute to St. Francis… Thanks for the Emerson quote. It’s so true! Just because something is a “common occurrence” (like the sun rising every morning), doesn’t mean it is not amazing! Thanks for your comment! Melannie

  3. Once again, our God brings us to our knees as we are forced to admit that “we cannot do anything like this”. As the ancient song writer once wrote: “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”.

    Father John Blazek, C.S.C.

    1. Fr. John, I like your words “brings us to our knees.” Being on our knees can be a very good posture for us at times… Especially when we humbly recognize the power and mystery of our God! Thanks again for your response! Melannie

  4. I’ve always been a great fan of the heavens and seas. Madeleine L’Engle has made me even more so with her thoughts about our origins in the stars and seas. Your choice of visuals and music really made this meditation a wonderful experience for me. 😊 Thank you! (see you in the hall😉)

    1. Mary James, You mention another favorite writer of mine, Madeleine L’Engle. I love her best seller, “A Wrinkle in Time” (won the Newberry Award) and her “Summer of the Great- Grandmother” which tells of her personal experience caring for her elderly mother. The truth is, I love everything of hers that I have read so far!… The song/video was a serendipitous find!… See you soon… you know where… Melannie

  5. “when Brother Sun and Sister Moon play together in the sky,” what a beautiful phrase to describe the coming total solar eclipse.

    1. Thank you, Carl. As I was writing the prayer, that phrase just popped into my mind! Other phrases, I agonize over! Melannie

  6. The words of another Psalm (139:11-12) come to mind:
    “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You…”

    My three little grandsons will love the eclipse illustrated with cookies! Thanks for the idea!
    And April will bring us to the birth of our first granddaughter. Perhaps she’ll arrive with the eclipse!

    1. Deb,

      Thank you for the other beautiful image from Ps. 139! I’m glad you like the eclipse cookies. I’m making some too only I’m baking a simple sugar cookie and using orange and chocolate frosting to depict various stages of the eclipse from pure sun (all orange), half eclipse (orange with various stages of chocolate, to total (all chocolate with orange around the edges.) At least that’s what I envision! No matter how they turn out, I know my friends will eat them! Congratulations on those 4 grandchildren–especially the little girl about to make her debut! I bet you’re a good grandmother!… Thanks for writing! Melannie

  7. Thank you Melannie for sharing your profound reflection and prayer of thanksgiving for all the wonders and blessings of the universe. And the music video captured beautifully those reflections. Quite the exciting “once in a lifetime” event we have to look forward to on April 8th. Thank you God.

    1. Loretta, I’m honored that you enjoyed this post focused on the wonder of the upcoming total solar eclipse! Yes, I too find it “quite exciting”! Cousin, Melannie

  8. Our God is so good! He gives us reason to come together in our divided world and provides us the opportunity to look up and marvel at his glorious creation. Thank you Sister for your modified version of Psalm 8. Instead of dogs and cats I prayed huskies and Maine Coons. God bless!

    1. Martha, I appreciated your emphasis on the eclipse as being a time for our fragmented world to come together and simply marvel at God’s “glorious creation.” I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to substitute “huskies and Maine Coon” in your psalm. I had to look up “Maine coon” and learned they’re the largest breed of domesticated cat in the U.S. I saw some lovely pictures of them. I also learned they were not lap cats usually, but they are gentle and affectionate and make good family cats. I hope that describes your Maine coon. Thanks for your comment, Martha! Melannie

  9. Melanie when I pray to Jesus it is always about something I am concerned about or just to thank Him. But until I read your words even though I know He has created everything I never looked at His creation the way you wrote about them. Thank you for the beautiful teaching I always learn something from you. Moe

    1. Moe, I got my inspiration for this prayer straight from the Psalms. These ancient prayer-songs are a real treasure! I appreciate your words! Thank you! Melannie

  10. Once again. thank you Sister! I loved how you made the psalm a personal prayer and praise. I am going to try this. I am in Arizona so I will not experience the total eclipse, but you have made me feel very much a part of this wonder through your psalm. Thank you again and again!

    1. Patricia, I hope you get to see the total eclipse on TV and other sources–and you see peoples’ reactions to the eclipse. I once saw the total eclipse on TV in another part of our country. Some crowds went totally silent when it occurred. Another crowd clapped. And a third crowd spontaneously started singing “Amazing Grace.” All reactions touched me! Thank you for your words! Melannie

  11. I’m so happy I did not miss this, Melannie! Thank you for the Psalm 8 adapted Solar Eclipse Prayer. I will definitely share this with others and a retreat group the weekend before the eclipse. I was happy to see alpacas made your cut. Remember the little cria, Jean Raphael was born during your retreat at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. And you had a special encounter with Mama and JR… treasured moments for me to enjoy and photograph.

    Thanks always for your insight, depth, wisdom, and creativity.

    1. Mary, So glad you liked the prayer and are going to share it with others. Yes, I remember the birth of the little cria, Jean Raphael. I have pictures on her and her Mama on my desktop to this day! That was such a special experience for me–and for all of us! She was born by Caesarean section too! I included alpacas in my prayer because there are about about 20 alpaca farms in northeast Ohio! Amazing! Thanks so much for writing. It was a blessing to hear from you again! Melannie

  12. Sr. Melanie, God of wonders is on our playlist my husband and I sing in the car. We too live in Ohio. Our once in a lifetime viewing will be in our son’s backyard in Green, Ohio. A trip of 40 minutes from our home in Louisville. How blessed are we to witness this sight.
    I got my glasses early from the library. 😎
    So happy to have you back in my inbox again!

    1. Linda, I think it’s wonderful that you and your husband sing together in the car–and that “God of Wonders” is on your play list! I know right where Green is. My sister lived in North Canton–not that far from Green. So glad you can share this truly awesome event with your family! I’m glad you’re getting my blog again! I appreciate every single one of my readers! Thanks for writing! Melannie

  13. Living in Austin Texas — we get totality also. We’re so please because our Minnesota son and family are among the million or so expected for the event here. I have eclipse glasses on the counter, ready to go. Now we pray for a sunny day! Incredible how long it has been and will be until the next one in the area of totality this year. This IS a big deal. This area had another solar ecliptic event last Oct. with the Annular Solar Eclipse — also called the Ring of Fire because we could still observe the corona of the sun behind the moon’s shadow. Quite a special thing to observe two such events in less than 6 months. Everyone – enjoy this…2044 is the next chance if you go to North Dakota (which by the way is a very nice state – I grew up there) or Montana or somewhere inbetween on the pathway from California to Florida. God is pretty amazing.

    1. Patt, I’m so excited that you will also experience the total solar eclipse in Austin! And that your son and his family are coming down for it. How great will that be to share this experience together!… I’ve been to your home state of North Dakota–both to Bismarck and to the Benedictine Sisters in Dickinson. I was fascinated by the history and beauty of your state!…
      Thanks for writing, Patt! Melannie

  14. Thank you for this special reflection, Sr. Melannie, on this once-in-a-lifetime event. I’ve got my ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses for the big day. And I suspect there may be a run on Oreo cookies as more folks read your blog! They’re on my shopping list. As I pray your beautiful Psalm 8.1 on April 8, I will be praising our good and provident God for this spectacular light/dark show.

    1. Carole, I’m glad you already have your glasses to view this amazing event. And yes, get those Oreo cookies ready!… Whenever I view the morning Mass at St. Dominic Church, I’m always excited when you do the first reading!… Thanks so much for writing! Melannie

      1. You may have me mixed up with Claudette Matero, Sr. Melannie, and if so, I’m flattered! However, if on occasion you “tune in” to St. Mark’s (Cleveland) Facebook page for their 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass, you just might see me at the ambo. In fact, I’m lector #2 for the Palm Sunday liturgy…oh, boy!

        1. Carole, I’m so sorry for my mix-up. You and Claudette are both wonderful women! Thank you for writing! Melannie

  15. Thank you, Sr. Melanie for your beautiful words and for showing that video! We certainly have a marvelous God!

  16. Yes, the Canada geese are once again returning home in huge ‘V’ shaped formations! My husband and I saw one flock that must have been hundreds-strong, honking and winging their way home to (unfortunately) a snow covered landscape here in Alberta. They are patient and seem to know it will melt soon

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Meet Sr. Melannie

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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