The Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14
John 1: 47-51
On May 8, 1959 I was enrolled in the St. Michael’s Junior League. Today, I still have my enrollment card and the special medal in honor of Saint Michael sitting on my desk. Over the months and miles since my enrollment, I’ve always experienced the angels, including Michael, Gabriel and Raphael as a source of "comfort" in my life. Whenever debates about the theology of angels came up, (or the simple question "How many angels really could fit on the head of a pin"), I still could never forget their presence and meaning as comfort in times of stress and sorrow. In the haunting melody of Sarah Mclachlan I recall, "You’re in the arms of the angels, may you find some comfort here."
When I reflect on the comforting nature of this feast I think not only of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. I also think about the "angels" I encounter here in our Passionist Family in Louisville. I see these angels providing comfort to those who are at the foot of the Cross. I see the kind smiles of Father Albert and Father Leon providing comfort to seniors they visit. I hear the stories Sister Mary Ann shares of her ministry to the elderly. I listen to Capper Rademaker reflect on her ministry of care to those who are suffering with illness. I thank God for the healing ministry of Father Bernie. I take pride in the ministry of Father John and Brother John, caring every day for those in our Assisted Living community. I watch Jim Williams offer comfort to wounded veterans in his social work at the VA Hospital. I witnessed the smiling generosity of Bill Hash and the comfort the community has provided his family, friends and each other since his untimely death. I rejoice in the faithful prayer ministry of our whole community. Passionists all, angels all, they comfort the suffering at the foot of the Cross.
Today I take comfort in the sung prayer of The Stanley Brothers from the movie "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" "Oh come, angel band. Come and around me stand. Oh bear me away on your snow white wings to my immortal home."
Let us pray and reflect together on today’s Alleluia verse from Psalm 103, "Bless the Lord, all you angels, you ministers, who do his will."
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.