Angel is the name of their office.

Daniel 7, 9-10, 13-14, Revelations 12, 7-19a, John 1, 47-51

Feast of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels

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The readings of today's angelic feast momentarily clear the "smoky glass" through which we "see darkly", and give us brief glimpses of eternal realities and states of being. That we human beings have spiritual companions and defenders is not doubted by those of us who hold the Catholic faith. Besides the witness of Holy Scripture and Tradition, many millions of people have felt the touch of these angels in comfort and healing and calling.

In speaking of these spiritual beings, all of the writers of scripture wax very poetic: Daniel sees thrones of fire attended by myriad beings; Late in his life, John witnesses a great war in heaven, angelic hosts led by Michael wage spiritual warfare with great forces of darkness and wickedness. Earlier he records the testimony of Jesus to Nathanael, and predict that he will one day see visions of angels ascending and descending to heaven.

Angels have been one of the fads of the 1990s, and a pleasant one at that (beats a lot of other fads hands down). There are even popular television shows which, taking a theme from ancient scripture, show angels walking among us and ministering to those in need, sometimes in ways that might not have been predicted by the recipient of this grace, and certainly leading to unexpected outcomes.

We can all take comfort in the protection and guidance of angels, but more than comfort, let us learn from their example. St. Augustine wrote that "angel is the name of their office, not of their nature." (Catechism 329). "Because they 'always behold tthe face of my Father who is in heaven,' they are the 'mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.'" Angels are evangelizers, announcing to Mary his Mother and to the shepherds in the fields the news of the Savior of the world. Let us resolve to be angels in disguise for those who are afflicted and marginalized, bringing them good news and hope in a tumultuous and stormy world.

St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle! Be our shield against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O prince of the heavenly host, thrust into hell Satan and all other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen!

Thoughts on orthopraxis:

Who do you know that is in need of angelic help? Having understood that help is needed in a given situation, is it possible that God is calling you to take upon yourself the "office of angel" to minister healing and hope in God's name?

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