Saturday, 29 September 2007

Feast Of The Archangels

I love today's feastday: there is something very "in-your-face" about it...

Most people will accept the idea of saints (even if they don't agree that their intercession is necessary or helpful) because it seems pretty straightforward to acknowledge that there have been some very holy people over the centuries.

However, angels are a different matter. You can't see angels (in the normal run of events, that is) and so can't prove that they actually exist. Some people get quite twitchy if you mention that you believe in angels: you run the risk of being labelled as a bit soft in the head. After all, aren't angels make-believe, like fairies and elves and pixies... No-one really believes in angels nowadays, do they?

Well, you need to decide whether you believe the Bible. They are mentioned quite a lot... and not just in the early Books of the Old Testament where you might be able to persuade yourself that they're only a representation of some human trait or characteristic or something (that's how I used to "explain" difficult Bible stuff to myself.)

They're awesome creatures... about as unlike popular depictions of fairies and pixies as you can get, and by all accounts they don't resemble those cute little cherubs you see on Christmas cards. As it so happens, the Biblical description of the cherubim is rather hair-raising... and of course, whenever the angels and archangels appear, they seem to tell all and sundry not to be afraid... which rather suggests that their general appearance causes some concern... Those great hulking shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem wouldn't be noted for their timidity, for example... but the appearance of angels had them quaking in their boots.

Roman Miscellany has an excellent post on angels, which you can read HERE (I'd quite forgotten that the Feast used to be called "Michaelmas" !) and Fr. Zuhlsdorf has a close-up of an angel (just an artistic representation, so not at all frightening) embroidered on the beautiful vestments he wore for the Mass he celebrated earlier.

St. Michael, St. Gabriel & St. Raphael, pray for us.


Philip said...

Beautiful window!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mac,
Thanks for publishing my comments.
How refreshing to see a sensible comment on angels in a Christian blog. For a truly Biblical perspective on angels, check the Catholic charismatic website, and read the article on angels by Flame’s founder, Eddie Russell. Here’s a sample paragraph: “It is comforting to know whom and what you have working on your side. Angels and Christians are partners and allies in the spiritual warfare in which we find ourselves. They assist us to dislodge Satan from his stronghold in the world. When Intercessors come together and prayer prevails it brings powerful angels to aid and assist us to hinder the workings of Satan (Hebrews 1:4, Daniel 10:12-13).”

With regards to my remarks about the Liturgy, incense etc being spiritual bureaucracy and blocking our progress to know God’s unconditional love directly.
I quite agree that we must give God our best. The sin of Cain was his neglect in this area. He offered God the remains, unlike Abel who knew he must give the first and best offering to God.
But, there is a danger in the red robes, incense, Latin prayer style of theology. Suppose I buy a new car. I was it every day, polish and decorate it with accessories. I keep it in a garage with central heating and put plastic covers on the seats. I cover it with warning signs, eg, No Smoking in The Car, No Eating or Drinking In The Car etc etc. I insist passengers remove their shoes before entering the car and no one plays a Cher CD so as not to offend the car speakers.
But the danger is I forget what a car is for - to get me from A to B. Instead of helping me get somewhere, the car has become the focus of all my attention, my little treasure. And Jesus told us where our treasure is, there will be our heart too. Surely our hearts should be on Him.

I didn’t intend to be anonymous with my last entry. My name is James and I’m a UK based Christian, ex-Catholic and now member of a Pioneer Church. (

Blessings to y’all


PBXVI said...

You've been awarded...

God Bless!

Mac McLernon said...

Good point James - we must never become so attached to worldly things so as to forget the Creator of them all.

However, we are body and soul, matter and spirit, and so the material (accessed through our senses) is important in communication with God (hence the Incarnation.) To deny this (as many evangelical Christians do) is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I'm sorry you lapsed from the Faith, but I'm happy that you still are Christian... say a prayer for me, and I will for you.

George said...

Can someone tell me whether St Uriel still ranks as an Archangel?

Mac McLernon said...

The archangel Uriel is found in some apocryphal writings (I did a search in my electronic Douay-Rheims Bible, and came up with nothing, so it really is apocryphal, and not the Deuterocanonical books which are called apocryphal by Protestants)

Uriel is a name found in the first and second book of Chronicles (4 verses in total), but the references aren't to an archangel (or any type of angel)

Marita said...

I believe that St Thomas Acquinas wrote several volumes on Angels!!!

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