Saturday, September 29, 2018

Do I believe?

Today as the Church celebrates the archangels Raphael,Gabriel, and Michael; it is a time for all of us to stop and ask how much we believe in the presence and power of angels. 

There have for centuries been certain currents within Christianity that seek to reduce the universe to humans and the Trinity. Even in the Catholic Church, since the second half of the 20th century there has been a tendency to dismiss all other spiritual realities as old-fashioned, or superstition. Some have even tried to explain aways the angels in the Bible as people, human messengers. 

The fact is that Christianity and all three of the monotheistic religions have always believed in the existence of angels. Angels are spiritual (non-corporeal) beings with intelligence and free will. As St. Augustine explains, “angel” is their office not their nature. They are messengers and servants of God. They can constantly behold the face of God. 

Why does it matter to us? As the Catechism puts it,”From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.” In a world that is increasingly individualistic, and even religion gets reduced to “me and God”, it is important for us to remember that there a large part of the universe that we cannot see, and we are not the only intelligent creatures in that universe. We do not need to look to other planets for non-human intelligent life.  They are all around us. They are called angels. They serve as intermediaries between God and us. They accompany us on the journey of life. As we are told in psalm 91,

For he will give his angels charge of youto guard you in all your ways. 

On this Feast of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel perhaps we all need to pause to be greateful for the action of angels in the world, and listen more carefully for their voices.