Summary: Angels are our helpers in the mopping up action that is life in the Church between the Resurrection and the Second Coming.
St. Michael and All Angels
September 29, 2008
We are born into a battle, but we are born ill-equipped for that battle. It is a battle, as St. Paul teaches, with principalities and powers, with mighty spiritual beings. But, by the infinitely powerful grace of God, we are reborn through baptism, and equipped for battle by confirmation, and this daily celebration of the Eucharist that we call the summit of the sacraments of initiation. Christ has won the war–the victory of the Church over sin and death and evil is assured–but every age between the Resurrection and the second coming has to fight a mopping up action, and it is a fight to the death.
Angels have been present since creation. They surround us even now. They are signs of God’s loving kindness and fidelity. They kept the first man and woman away from the Tree of Life, because everlasting life without God’s grace is a curse, not a blessing. They protected Lot and his family, saved Hagar and her child, even though he was an abusive brat. An angel kept Abraham from slaying his son, led in a fiery pillar the people through the Red Sea, assisted the prophets. And, best of all, it was an angel who at the beginning of his existence announced the coming of Christ to Mary, and comforted Christ in the garden of Gethsemane.
Angels are pure spirits, but it was God’s intention to raise human beings, who are lower than the angels, to divine status, to union with the Trinity. An ancient tradition tells us that this was the cause of Lucifer’s rebellion, jealousy over one day being ruled by a mere human. The great army of Michael got it right–God’s will is best, and serving God’s will is the highest happiness, even if it causes us some inconvenience.
In a few moments we will acknowledge their presence indirectly. As we come together to celebrate the God-made-man, who comes in the name of the Lord at the Eucharistic prayer, we sing with all the angels and saints a great hymn of praise: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, the song that Isaiah heard in the Great Sanctuary. As God is thrice holy, let’s pray that we, his sinful people, may by communion with and in the Holy Christ become holy ourselves, and draw others to Him by the holiness of our actions. May our prayer always be the prayer of Michael and Gabriel and all the myriad host: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”