Daily Reflection
September 29th, 2006

Cathy Weiss Pedersen

Campus Ministry
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Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Rev 12:7-12ab
Psalm 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5
John 1:47-51

In my marriage preparation work with engaged couples, I use FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study) - an instrument to enable the individual partners to talk about their understanding and expectations regarding their relationship and anticipated marriage together. The primary purpose of the process is to have the couple discuss and articulate how they understand the various topics and statements. As in any communication process, it isn’t enough to hear what the other says, but to understand what the person is trying to say. Its whole premise is based on the couple truly being present to and with one another, open to giving and receiving what and who each other is.

As I read today’s scriptures, celebrating the feast of Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, I reflected on how we understand angels in our Judeo-Christian tradition. In the Jewish and Christian scriptures, angels are seen as attending to God (today’s readings from Daniel and John’s Gospel), protectors and guardians (Book of Revelation), and messengers/communicators between God and humans (Genesis – Jacob’s dream; Gospels’ accounts of the Annunciation and the Resurrection).

Though my imagination as a child was more engaged with the idea of angels as guardians and protectors, my adult understanding centers more in angels as messengers/ communicators of God.

Today, we might not be visited by an angel as in Mary’s annunciation or the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection, but God continues to communicate with us in special ways. The question is, how open am I to God’s attempts to speak to me?

The television series, “Touched By An Angel”, attempts to show God’s presence in the world today through the actions of others. Gifts of fanciful wooden angel carvings sitting on my shelves/coffee tables remind me of the people who bless me with their loving presence in my life.

As in the FOCCUS process, however, it isn’t enough for a message to be sent. There must be a ‘receiver’, open to the message and ready to attempt to understand and respond in order for the communication to really take place.

For me, making time for reflection and prayer is essential to opening myself to God’s communication/ presence in my life. It is then that I realize how often I am touched by God in my life through others…in their care, concern, acts of kindness, words of challenge, and unconditional love. And – it is a reminder that I am called to also be God’s presence – to communicate/make God ‘real’ in my actions and words to others.

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