Experts have identified a "path of totality" that will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. If you are in that path you will get the best experience of the total eclipse. For a short time it will look like twilight outside in the middle of the day. Stars will be visible. The temperature will drop about ten degrees. Animals will become disoriented. Birds will become confused and go to roost. Plants and flowers will fold up.
Even if you are not in the "path of totality" some of the eclipse will be visible (but we are warned for the safety of our eyes not to view it directly) everywhere in the continental US. This hasn't happened for 99 years!
So 2017 is a rather notable year. In addition to the eclipse, consider all of the other significant anniversaries we mark in 2017:
- October 31, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
- March 8 - November 8, 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Communist Revolution.
- May 13, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of the consecration as bishop of Mgr. Eugenio Pacelli (who would soon be Pope Pius XII).
- May 27, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Code of Canon Law.
- Maybe most intriguingly, May 13 - October 13, 2017, marks 100 years since the Blessed Mother appeared to the three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal, and the accompanying miracle of the sun!
It's also noteworthy enough to mention that this total eclipse of the sun will happen during Our Lady's Octave – that is, during the eight days between the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15 (during which Mass we will hear the reading from the Book of Revelation that, "a great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet") and the Feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22.
So, I'm just saying. You might benefit from keeping your rosary handy. Pope John XXII, when convoking the Second Vatican Council, advised us all that we should pay attention to and learn from “the signs of the times.” Pope Francis has repeated those words often in his pontificate. How good it is when we are moving steadily along that glorious “path of totality” – offering everything in trust and love to our God who does such wonders in heaven and on earth.