Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
September 29, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
I have always had a special love for St. Michael, having grown up in a parish named for him. Like many people, I was fascinated by the concept of angels – dynamic, immortal beings who provided hidden protection to my young soul. Although popular culture minimizes angels into fat little Valentine cherubs, the idea of a strong, noble supernatural sibling has remained with me throughout life.
And although tradition has designated these angels with beautiful male names, angels are without gender. They could just as easily be imagined as mighty, glorious Sisters safeguarding us for God.
Praying with the angels can teach us more about their nature, and more about our own. Each of us, creatures of The Eternal One, reflect particular aspects of God’s nature. Just as children might resemble one of their parents, we humans and angels look like God.
We humans, with all natural Creation, reflect God’s mercy, love, inclusivity.
Angels mirror God’s power, transcendence and glory. They exist in the perfection of adoration and service to God. They invite us to that same perfection when our earthly journey ends.
What a blessing and help for us to live more consciously in the presence of these invisible beings who desire and foster our good! What a spiritual support to realize that the communion of angels and saints perpetually and lovingly surrounds us!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this:
From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by the angels’ watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading that person to life. Here on earth the Christian life already shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and saints united in God.
Perhaps today, we might pray to know these holy companions a little better, and to gratefully allow them to bolster our spirits for the day’s journey.
Poetry: Touched by an Angel – Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
Music: The Hymn of the Cherubim of the Byzantine Liturgy is one of the most beautiful hymns of all the Catholic Liturgies. The hymn was added to the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by the Emperor Justinian. The lyrics are:
We, who mystically represent the Cherubim,
And chant the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity,
Let us set aside the cares of life
That we may receive the King of all,
Who comes invisibly escorted by the Divine Hosts.