Monday, September 29, 2014

Some thoughts on angels: Daily Mass Homily--Monday, September 29th, 2014 (Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael)

            On this feast of the archangels, I simply want to share some facts about our spiritual guardians.  Much of what I am about to share comes from our patron—St. Thomas Aquinas—who was dubbed the Angelic Doctor based on his writings about angels.
            First, angels are real.  Aquinas made sense of the existence of angels by looking to nature.  He saw a hierarchy of being and life, culminating with embodied spirits—us.  He recognized that we share both in the animal world and spiritual world.  Those creatures without rational capabilities remain only in the animal world.  Angels—pure spirits—highlight the other end of the spectrum of life.
            Second, angels are not cute!  Hallmark and cartoons have emasculated angels as these adorable winged creatures that sit on one’s shoulder.  Yet Scripture attests to something very different.  Almost without exception, every time Scripture records an angelic visit, the person is terrified and often begins to fall down in worship.  Angels are powerful—much more than we are—and capable of protecting us from danger both spiritual and physical.
            Third, there are a multitude of angels.  We each have a guardian angel appointed to protect us in life.  Yet despite this multiplicity, every angel is more different than each other than I am to a dog!  Since an angel has no body, their categories of “species” is unique to each one!
            The archangels, one of the choirs of the angelic realm, were given great duties in salvation history.  Raphael, Michael and Gabriel had special tasks given to them, and for this reason we ask for their prayers today on their feast day.  These angels are three of many that really exist in power, in multitude and in a unique relationship to God.  May they keep us safe and ever pray for us!

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