“War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.” On this feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, we are greeted with these first words in our reading from the book of Revelations; “War broke out in heaven.”
We are given a picture of division in the ranks of the angels. Division is so much a part of the signs of our times. Every day we are bombarded by division; political parties, social issues, religious atrocities from every side, racial issues, economic separation and dysfunctional families. We are a long way from the prayer of Jesus that we may all be one. We are not one. We are a divided world, except of course when we experience a common disaster.
I saw this many times in my disaster relief work for the Red Cross and AT&T. Hurricanes and tornadoes create an immediate temporary bond in which we suspend divisions amidst our common experience of suffering. People are remarkably aware of the need to support our fellow human beings. Then, with the passage of a few days, we take up our places again behind the artificial walls we create.
As a Passionist I am called to remind people that our hearts are one in union around the Cross. The Cross of Jesus unites us in a common bond. We are one. The angels fought a war. In the words of the song, “What is war good for? Absolutely nothing”. Our vocation calls us to “hold high the Cross” and stand up for the unity we all share as children of God. I certainly am not an angel like Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, but I can peacefully fight for unity in our divided world.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of the Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.