Monday, September 29, 2008

September 29: Feast of the Holy Archangels

I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.

Then they were both troubled, and fell upon their faces: for they feared.

But he said unto them, Fear not, for it shall go well with you; praise God therefore.

For not of any favour of mine, but by the will of our God I came; wherefore praise him for ever.

All these days I did appear unto you; but I did neither eat nor drink, but ye did see a vision.

Now therefore give God thanks: for I go up to him that sent me; but write all things which are done in a book.

And when they arose, they saw him no more.

Then they confessed the great and wonderful works of God, and how the angel of the Lord had appeared unto them.
--Tobit 12:14-22 (version from 1619 KJV)

[Note: The book of Tobit does does not appear in the Protestant bible. See link for more.]


The Catholic Church, true to it's traditions, insists always that angels are closer to God than to man, and tends also to emphasize the otherness of the angels. In Protestant and post-Protestant American, this otherness has waned, and threatens now to vanish altogether. In the vivid epiphany of Gabriel to Daniel, the prophet first loses consciousness in shock and terror, and recovers himself only when touched benignly by the angel. I juxtapose to Daniel's spiritual trauma the treacle of our popular angel manuals, one of which actually suggest that there are cat angels, who presumably manifest themselves to our cats. The domestication of angels makes them dull and saccharine, and reminds me of the actress Jane Russell's theological outburst on television, when at a late moment in her career she took up singing spirituals, and defined God thusly: "I think God is just a livin doll!"

Whether we interpret them as God's messengers, or his warriors, or even his administrators, angels are meaningless apart from God, even when they are in rebellion against him.

Harold Bloom
Omens of the Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection

Holy Archangels, pray for us.

Listening to: Santana - Soul Sacrifice
via FoxyTunes


mikeb302000 said...

Holy Archangels, pray for us.
That includes my namesake. Thanks for an interesting post as usual.