25th Saturday in Ordinary Time
Feast of Sts. Michael and All Angels
I can remember pictures of angels flying or stories of genies carrying someone on their back half way across the world. But recently I was at O’Hare Chicago and was admiring the huge, sleek jets taking off and landing and wondered who needs angels that fly anymore or genies that carry you on their magic carpets anymore. Scholastic philosophy tells us that angels do not occupy space and the only time you know the angel is present is when the angel acts on something. Something miraculous occurs and you know the angel is there. But who needs angels when you have Google’s autonomous car driven by Artificial Intelligence from the cloud.
In the past the ancients were aware that the spirit world – good and bad impinged on our spirit. But now that we have psychology, we say it’s all in your head. We feel we ought to fess up and take responsibility for everything. We do not need angels or demons to blame anymore. And so we, you and I, live in a deserted spiritual universe. Technology is impressive. Its achievements are incredible and dwarf us and make us feel small. The material world is so awesome and so in your face that to speak of the spirit world is like speaking of Caspar the friendly ghost – comic book stuff. I say all this facetiously but there is truth. We truly live in a deserted spiritual universe – desiccated, vacant, desolate, unoccupied, empty, inconsequential. The Puritans have won and the Catholics have lost. So we fill it with products of human imagination – vampires, zombies and the walking dead. They are scary but still we can fast forward the movie or stop it or close the book. They are still our vampires and walking dead.
Today’s feast of St Michael and the all angels is a course correction for all of us who are so immersed in the dazzling world of the material. There is a bigger, vaster, world out there. Our eyes have never seen this and our imagination cannot even begin to touch upon this. Not only that, but there is a war that never ends. It is not a war for territory but a war for our souls. There is good for sure in the universe but most of us are blithely unaware that there is personified pure malice also out there. A malice that is unsleeping, merciless, super intelligent, powerful, pitiless that will never rest till it can murder our souls. This world of good and pure malice impinges on our spirit. We are at the center of the battle. It might feel as inconsequential as wisps of thoughts that push us one way or the other, that we are dimly aware of but not as impressive as the Lamborghini parked in our garage. Except that the former have eternal consequences. Our Lamborghini will rust in a few years and fall apart. We are unaware of this most of the time, caught up as we are in the material world. But the good angels are not. They know what is at stake and that is why St Michael and the angels have been deputed to protect us – poor banished and dumb children of Eve. Without them we would be finished by the merciless, unsleeping malice that constantly pursues us night and day seeking to devour us. It is precisely today when we have gotten rid of angels and feel in control that we need the angels more than ever.
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.