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Cheers to the Archangels Sept 29th and the Guardian Angels Oct 2nd

The week leading up to the to today’s Feast of the Archangels and the Guardian Angels on October 2 is a celebratory time for Catholics. A prayerful and celebratory time.  In our current uber materialistic world, a secular media and legacy media aka  the New Pharisees it is easy to dismiss prayer and angles as medieval superstition, something unimportant to our faith or as the New York Times might say, it may be hazardous to your health.  But this would be a denial of God’s design.

No wonder Catholics scientifically, empirically and anecdotally are happier. While happiness and life satisfaction can be tricky to define, happiness has been discussed ad nauseam by philosophers, thinkers and activists, such as Aristippus, Aristotle, Zhuangzi, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Jeremy Benthan and Bertrand Russell, they all have considered happiness and life satisfaction to be one of the highest goals of human motivation.  There are all kinds of reasons to be happy:  We are all sinners, yet God still loves us. In the words of Dillan Luke writing for Life Teen: “Our God loves us more than we could ever imagine. So much so that instead of making us reach Heaven, He brings Himself to us here on Earth in the form of the Eucharist´- (D Luke)

According to  The Conversations’ Daniel Merino “Our findings suggest that Protestants, Buddhists and Roman Catholics are happier and more satisfied with their lives, compared with other groups. Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and the non-religious were in between, while Orthodox Christians were found to have the lowest happiness and life satisfaction rates.”  Previous research suggested the “happy person” is young, healthy, well-educated, well-paid, optimistic and extroverted. The same research found the happiest people tend to be religious, married, with high self-esteem and job morale and modest aspirations. It seems your gender and level of intelligence don’t necessarily come into it. Around the world, over 84% of people belong to or are connected to a religious group.

In the Words of James Joyce, the Church can be called Here Come Everybody and the secular world doesn’t like it.  Given Joyce’s commitment to expressing the fullness of life, it became necessary for Joyce to use apparently complex techniques, such as ‘interior monologue‘ and ‘portmanteau words‘. Joyce’s obscenities and tricks are necessary for his art.  “ Purity activists campaigned tirelessly against Joyce’s work; his writing was considered obscene and indecent. In the US, Joyce’s second novel, Ulysses, was suppressed, confiscated, burned and, ultimately, banned in a 1921 court case. In the UK, no one dared to publish the book as printers could themselves be imprisoned for typing obscenities. In 1922, Ulysses was finally published in (less-prudish) Paris. However, the book was not legally available in the US or UK until the 1930s” (Hannaway C, 2012)

Earthly Lady Bea

And it only gets better.  We have angels! Im looking forward to seeing my little angel Lady Bea, a 15 year old cavachon that died a couple of months back. I know it is not biblical, but I still can hope.  An angel is a pure spirit created by God. Discreet but ever faithful, the angels play a vital role in God’s plan for our lives. Created as spiritual beings who mediate between us and God, angels serve as our constant companions, advisers, and protectors, watching over us while standing before God’s throne in Heaven. He alone “hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto: whom no man hath seen, nor can see (1 Timothy 6:16)

Heavenly Lady Bea

Angels do not have man’s shortcomings, and can therefore act for God and represent Him when communicating with men and women. They bridge the huge gap between the holiness and perfection of God in heaven and the shortcomings of people on this planet. Angels were made immortal. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for angel is malak, also meaning messenger.  Although the word “angel” in the Bible, meaning a messenger, nearly always applies to heavenly beings, it can occasionally apply to human messengers. Malachi himself said a priest was a messenger (malak) of the LORD of hosts (Malachi 2:7), and in the Book of Revelation the elders of the seven churches of Asia were called angels (1:20; 2:1 etc.). But when we meet messengers doing supernatural things, there is no doubt they are heavenly beings – God’s messengers, working for Him and for the ultimate benefit of mankind.

St. Thomas tells us that the Archangels bear the greatest messages of God to man. They are the chief messengers (arch-aggelos); ruling, as well, over the lesser messengers, or angels, as their chiefs. It is from this latter choir that St. Thomas asserts that the Guardian Angels of individuals are taken.

Seeing Angels: However, the Church has a saint for everyone, not just the young, the healthy or well-educated.  Saint Drogo is a saint for the ugly people and coffee, for example. There is a saint for the bad comedian, the farmer and even the IRS agents! And we are all called to become saints, to be perfected in charity, to grow in holiness (Lumen Gentium, Light to the Nations, 11).  The good news is that we don’t have to move mountains to be a saint. We don’t have to write theological works, be a visionary, or found a religious order. We certainly don’t need any kind of worldly standing or lofty profession. The humblest life can be the pathway to great sanctity.  St. Isidore the Farmer  comes to mind: he was a simple man who worked all his life as a farmer for a wealthy landowner. When St. Isidore, went to Mass in the early morning, his coworkers complained about Isidore being late to work,  but two angels appearing as young men would plow and cultivate his plot and Isidore’s work was always done.

Then there is Saint Germaine.  St. Germaine Cousin was born with a  withered and paralyzed right hand losing her mother when she was only a child. After the death of her mother, her father remarried and St. Germaine was treated harshly by her stepmother and was denied a real place of her own in the family home. She relegated to worked as a shepherdess for the family and slept in the stables. She was denied practically any contact with her stepbrothers and stepsisters. Each morning, St. Germaine would stick her staff in the ground in the middle of her flock. An angel would come to watch the flock while she left to attend Mass. Despite wolves in the area, she never lost a sheep While her homelife was horrible, her inner life was the opposite. She was a pure soul, in constant contact with God, daily praying the rosary and attending Mass. She died at the tender age of 22 and a half century after her death her body was found to be incorrupt.

Then there’s The Third Law of Angelic Warfare: In his introduction to The Screwtape Letters, a brilliant work exposing the unseen spiritual warfare taking place around all of us which uses a series of letters between two demons – the older Screwtape, an instructor and the younger student Wormwood – the great apologist CS Lewis wrote – There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. 

Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial intermediaries between God and humanity. Other roles include protectors and guides for humans, and servants of God. Abrahamic religions describe angelic hierarchies, which vary by religion and sect. Some angels have specific names (such as Gabriel or Michael) or titles such as seraph or archangel. Those expelled from Heaven are called fallen angels, distinct from the heavenly host. Angels in art are usually shaped like humans of extraordinary beauty. They are often identified in Christian artwork with bird wings, halos and divine light.

Pope Leo XIII composed the St. Michael Prayer:  “Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen”

He composed the prayer after receiving a terrifying vision of the future of the Church – entrusting the Church to her guardian St. Michael. Most importantly, Jesus himself had deep friendship with the angels who ministered to him in his moments of suffering. And it was the fallen angels who tempted him: The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.  Mark 1:12–13

In the book, Encounters with Angels,  Odile Haumonté combines scripture, tradition, and the testimony of saints who met angels face-to-face to show how to identify the signs of angelic presences here and now, Where angels are present in the Mass and the role they play in your prayers,  about guardian angels and their unique purpose in family prayer and gatherings. How angels help us to nurture our children’s desire for God. And  how to discern the angels’ actions in your life.  Haumonté  is a Catholic publisher and is the editor-in-chief of the magazine Patapon, which is designed to enable people to grow as a family with Jesus. She is the author of about fifty books, including biographies and novels.

Cheers.  Cheers to Saint Michael, Cheers to all the Angels around us.

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