Today is the feast of the ArchAngels, Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael. It is unusual that the readings today do not mention any of these three ArchAngels. Both readings do describe the angels in heaven that constantly served God the Father, before His throne, though.
Isn’t the first reading for Mass quite powerful? The images that form in our mind is almost incomprehensible. We can’t really visualize God the Father, but this reading gives us a good idea what He must be like:
“The Ancient One took his throne. His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool.”
The reading continues to say that thousands upon thousands were ministering to Him and myriads and myriads attended Him. This reading is unusual as it does not mention the angels specifically, but we do know that the ArchAngels surround the throne of God. The second half of this reading does tell us about the Son of Man though, who received an everlasting dominion over all nations and all people.
Saint Michael the ArchAngel went to battle against Satan and his demons and cast them out of heaven.
Saint Raphael cured Tobit’s father of his blindness in the Old Testament.
Saint Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit, and he would be God’s own son.
The angels are God’s messengers. Jesus speaks of them in the gospel:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
This wasn’t something he read in the Old Testament, it was something he knew. If you remember, Jesus existed before the world began. John 17:5:
“So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.”
The angels exist. Even if we are not aware of their presence, they are with us none the less. They protect us, and those we love too, from danger. Sometimes they help guide us to make the right decisions in life. Sometimes they are messengers sent by God, to tell us something that He wishes to say to us. Often, it is simply to make His presence known. At other times though, there might be something God asks you to do.
Angels appeared to many people in the bible through dreams. Saint Joseph is the most famous and trustworthy example of this. The thing that is honorable about Joseph, is that he listened to the angel in his dream and obeyed him, without question. It happened twice. The first time an angle told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary for his wife, and the second time an angel appeared in a dream to him, was to warn him that Herod was trying to kill baby Jesus and they needed to leave. Jesus’s life was in danger.
Many people disregard their dreams. Would you have the faith to trust a dream that you are certain came from God? What if the request made in the dream was pretty radical? Like when the angel told Joseph and Mary to escape to Egypt? Would you have the faith to pick up everything, leave behind all that you have ever known, and venture into a strange land to begin a new life? This was a pretty drastic thing for Joseph and Mary to do, especially based on a dream.
Is your faith deep enough to trust your instincts? The ‘gut feeling’ people sometimes have about an unusual occurrence, a dream, or perhaps a profound coincidence? Are you willing to bet your life on it, the same way Saint Joseph did? Perhaps that is why Saint Joseph is a saint. He had complete trust, confidence and faith in God. Saint Joseph accepted the ways that God makes His presence, and His will known to us.
Baby Jesus survived because Saint Joseph trusted the angel who appeared to him in a dream. This is something worth thinking about today.
How deep is your faith in God’s holy messengers?