7 October 2012
Extracted from the book of Exodus, Chapter 23:20-23
The Lord says this:
‘I myself will send an angel before you to guard you as you go and bring you to the place that I have prepared.
Give him reverence and listen to all that he says.
Offer him no defiance; he would not pardon such a fault, for My Name is in him.
If you listen to his voice and do all that I say, I shall be enemy to your enemies, foe to your foes.
My angel will go before you.’
The Universal Church celebrates the “Feast of the Guardian Angels” on 2 October every year.
This year, the following Readings were read in Holy Mass:
1st Reading: Exodus 23:20-23 - see above.
Psalm 91 – see Encouragements-78.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:1-5, 10 – see Encouragements -72.
After the aforesaid Readings, a wise and elderly Priest gave a short sermon and shared with us how “his guardian angel has always been helping him on the road whenever he drives and protects him from possible danger”. He also shared with us how he overcame the fear of darkness when he was a child as his father had always reminded him that “his guardian angel is always with him and there is nothing to be afraid of”.
He concluded his sermon by reminding us to invoke the help of our guardian angels daily– presented in Encouragements-49 - “Speed Call to your Guardian Angel”.
EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF SIX NEW BISHOPS
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Memorial of the three Archangels
St Peter's Basilica
Saturday, 29 September 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are gathered together around the Lord's altar on an occasion both solemn and joyful: the Episcopal Ordination of six new Bishops, called to carry out different offices at the service of the one Church of Christ. They are Mons. Mieczysław Mokrzycki, Mons. Francesco Brugnaro, Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, Mons. Tommaso Caputo, Mons. Sergio Pagano and Mons. Vincenzo Di Mauro. I offer my cordial greeting to them all, with a fraternal embrace. I extend a special greeting to Mons. Mokrzycki who, together with the present Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, served for many years as Secretary to the Holy Father John Paul II and then, after my election as Successor of Peter, also served as my Secretary with great humility, competence and dedication. Together with him, I greet Pope John Paul II's friend, Cardinal Marian Jaworski, to whom Mons. Mokrzycki will offer his assistance as Coadjutor. I also greet the Latin Bishops of Ukraine who are here in Rome for their ad limina Apostolorum visit. My thoughts also go to the Greek-Catholic Bishops, some of whom I met last Monday, and to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. May Heaven bless all their efforts to keep the healing and strengthening power of Christ's Gospel active in their Land and to pass it on to future generations.
We are celebrating this Episcopal Ordination on the Feast of the three Archangels who are mentioned by name in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. This reminds us that in the ancient Church - already in the Book of Revelation - Bishops were described as "angels" of their Church, thereby expressing a close connection between the Bishop's ministry and the Angel's mission. From the Angel's task it is possible to understand the Bishop's service. But what is an Angel? Sacred Scripture and the Church's tradition enable us to discern two aspects. On the one hand, the Angel is a creature who stands before God, oriented to God with his whole being. All three names of the Archangels end with the word "El", which means "God". God is inscribed in their names, in their nature. Their true nature is existing in his sight and for him. In this very way the second aspect that characterizes Angels is also explained: they are God's messengers. They bring God to men, they open heaven and thus open earth. Precisely because they are with God, they can also be very close to man. Indeed, God is closer to each one of us than we ourselves are. The Angels speak to man of what constitutes his true being, of what in his life is so often concealed and buried. They bring him back to himself, touching him on God's behalf. In this sense, we human beings must also always return to being angels to one another - angels who turn people away from erroneous ways and direct them always, ever anew, to God. If the ancient Church called Bishops "Angels" of their Church, she meant precisely this: Bishops themselves must be men of God, they must live oriented to God. "Multum orat pro populo" - "Let them say many prayers for the people", the Breviary of the Church says of holy Bishops. The Bishop must be a man of prayer, one who intercedes with God for human beings. The more he does so, the more he also understands the people who are entrusted to him and can become an angel for them - a messenger of God who helps them to find their true nature by themselves, and to live the idea that God has of them.
All this becomes even clearer if we now look at the figures of the three Archangels whose Feast the Church is celebrating today. First of all there is Michael. We find him in Sacred Scripture above all in the Book of Daniel, in the Letter of the Apostle St Jude Thaddeus and in the Book of Revelation.
Two of this Archangel's roles become obvious in these texts. He defends the cause of God's oneness against the presumption of the dragon, the "ancient serpent", as John calls it. The serpent's continuous effort is to make men believe that God must disappear so that they themselves may become important; that God impedes our freedom and, therefore, that we must rid ourselves of him.
However, the dragon does not only accuse God. The Book of Revelation also calls it "the accuser of our brethren..., who accuses them day and night before our God" (12: 10). Those who cast God aside do not make man great but divest him of his dignity. Man then becomes a failed product of evolution. Those who accuse God also accuse man. Faith in God defends man in all his frailty and short-comings: God's brightness shines on every individual. It is the duty of the Bishop, as a man of God, to make room in the world for God, to counter the denials of him and thus to defend man's greatness. And what more could one say and think about man than the fact that God himself was made man? Michael's other role, according to Scripture, is that of protector of the People of God (cf. Daniel 10: 21; 12: 1). Dear friends, be true "guardian angels" of the Church which will be entrusted to you! Help the People of God whom you must lead in its pilgrimage to find the joy of faith and to learn to discern the spirits: to accept good and reject evil, to remain and increasingly to become, by virtue of the hope of faith, people who love in communion with God-Love.
13 October 2012