Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels. Once again I find myself reflecting on angels, as I have since I opened the pages of the New Baltimore Catechism in the 1950’s. Question #19 went straight to the heart of the matter. “What are angels? Angels are created spirits without bodies.” Question #22 went further with a “job description.” “How do the good angels help us? The good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels.” So much for my understanding of angels in the 1950’s.
In the 1960’s (circa 1968), the “Dutch Catechism” gave me more to think about concerning angels. “Everything said about them (angels) in the Bible proclaims the marvelous truth: that God is concerned for us in a thousand ways. The names of the angels tell us this. Gabriel means “strength of God”; Raphael, “God’s healing”; Michael, “Who is like God.” This understanding is the one I hold today; God is concerned for me in ways I’ll never understand. God just plain loves me without limits!
I like this understanding. It is so good to know how deeply and uniquely God loves me. If I could fully explain angels, then my understanding of the ways God can love me would have the limits of my own mind. I prefer to feel the warmth of God’s love on this cool, fall day in Louisville, in unexpected, unknown and fully unlimited ways.
I’m getting too old to develop scholarly reflections on the Archangels! But, God willing, I’ll never be too old to experience God’s immense and mysterious love for myself and each one of us. May the angels always be with us and may they walk happily with us into the arms of God. Amen.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D., is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.