Daily Reflection
September 29th, 2000
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels - Feast 
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14, or Revelation 12:7-12
Psalms 138:1-5
John 1:47-51

I love reflecting upon this day.  There is a strange, popular fascination with angels today - at least in our secular North American culture.  A search of the web, or any religious book store, will turn up lots of angel statues, images, etc.  This week I drove by a road side stand put up by a vendor of yard statues, who puts his wares up from time to time.  I can't help but notice that his angel statues are always the first to sell out.  I think it has to do with who angels have been and are for us today.

In a Hebrew spirituality, full of a sense of reverence and awe before God, there was a reverence about even talking about God directly.  The angels made it possible to talk about attributes and the activities of God - that was both indirect, and full of faith.  The hand of God, the arm of God, the mouth of God, the messenger of the Lord, the justice of the Most High.

"El" is one of the Hebrew words for "God."  "Mica-el" means "who is like God."  "Gabri-el" means "God is strong."  "Rapha-el" means "God heals."

Could it be, that as we have lost a sense of the sacred, a sense of the presence and immediacy of God, we are returning to a sense of "mediators" between ourselves and the attributes and action of God in our lives?  The Hebrew sense of God's power and awe came out of a profound sense of reverence for God, and led to a wonderful way of celebrating God's fidelity.  Perhaps today's angel statues, paintings and jewelry come out of our loss of a sense of reverence and awe.

Perhaps today, our simple grace is to say, from a deeper place in our "sophisticated" hearts, "Who is like God?  God is strong.  God heals."  Perhaps, it will feel more and more "personal."  Thank you for loving me so much?  What other strength can I rely upon?  Please heal me.  Then, more in touch with an sense of awe and gratitude, we can feel the presence of Jesus with us this day - fully one with us in our human journey, fully the incarnation of God's fidelity to us.

"In the presence of the angels I will sing your praise." (Psalm 138)


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