29th September Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
So who believes in Angels these days? Our ideas are perhaps as hazy as this carving from Patrixbourne, battered by post-reformation iconoclasts.
We did see an angel in Assisi a few years ago; or at least a woman in white, with nylon-feathered wings, sitting at a desk in the square and presumably giving advice to those who stopped to talk. We walked by on the other side.
Tobias walked side by side with Raphael, who guided the young man safely through his adventures, and brought him safely home with a cure for his father Tobit’s blindness. He also had a new wife, Sarah, who had been beset by a murderous demon that had killed all her previous fiancés until Raphael intervened.
Gabriel was entrusted with the message of Christ’s birth, a momentous duty. He called Mary to her own momentous duty, which she accepted. More angels sang when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, calling the Shepherds to greet and worship him.
These angels were messengers, calling people to take on new challenges. Are we so spiritually battered by today’s iconoclasts that we cannot hear who is calling us, here and now?
If I can almost miss an angelic visitation on the top deck of a bus, I should keep my eyes and ears open. (See post, ‘Through New Eyes’, 24th September.) The girl was eager to record the wooded hills of the Blean – and when I looked again, the view was indeed very good.
God cannot be expected to send heavenly messengers if we ignore the earthly ones we meet every day.