Sep 29, 2016

9/29: The Archangels

"You will see heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

In our fact based culture which nearly worships the advances of science and technology, today's beautiful Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael may be a bit challenging.  After all, what physical verifiable proof do we have that angels exist, let alone a hierarchy of them?  I for one have always believed in the existence of angels.  I don't have a personal problem with it nor do I think that anyone should.  St. Thomas Aquinas, the "Angelic Doctor" as he is referred to, wrote extensively on the existence of the perfect spiritual beings in his Summa and much of what we believe about the Angels is based in his writing and other Doctors of the Church. 

From the mere argument of logic, why would God create us human beings, composed of material bodies and spiritual souls, the one part of creation to be such, then simply stop.  Is there no other form of being between us and God?  Are we enough for him, sinful as we can be at times?  

It only stands to reason that God began with these spiritual beings, angels as we call them; messengers and guardians.  We hear of them throughout scripture, we know of Mary's experience, Joseph's dream to take Mary as his wife, and Jesus speaks of them as well then he battles the evil spirit Satan in the desert.  In the end, these beings of pure spirit hold a certain rank that come from God in somewhat descending order, came these pure spirits to praise and glorify God (Seraphim and Cherubim) and the lower of which, yet far more intelligent than humankind, come the Archangels who we remember today and the guardian angels.  Their mission is to watch over and guard us in the spiritual battle against evil.  

The first reading of today's Mass printed below, speak of the battle fought in heaven between those angels who remained loyal to God and those who turned against him.  Once created, they see and know God but he gave them free will to make the ultimate and one time choice.  Once they turned against God, "I will not serve," they forever were banished and mankind became their enemy and constant target.  

Sure temptation comes to us through other ways.  The world, the flesh and the devil are the three sources of evil.  Yet, we rely on these guardians, if we acknowledge their existence and their mission from God to us.  

I know that myself included, many have had experiences in which they say something like, "My guardian angel was watching out for me."  Yes, they do and these three today are at the top of that order.  They reflect the beauty of the divine creator and their mission is to us.  

Let us pray to them with an open mind.  St. Michael the Archangel defend us.  

Revelation 12: 7 - 12A

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”