Thursday, September 29, 2011

Defend us in battle...

Today's feast of the biblical archangels is a special one for my community of Chicago (Sr Helena's profession name—the name she added to her baptismal name on vow day—is Raphael). And today is my great-niece Leah's third birthday, so it's special for my family, too. And face it, who isn't intrigued and entranced by these magnificent, mysterious servants of God?

At Mass, the lector (Sr Helena Raphael!) proclaimed the first reading from Daniel, rather than going with the option from the book of Revelation. I, on the other hand, had made my meditation using Revelation (“war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels prevailed over Satan...”) and the responsorial Psalm (138—the one I chose for my memorial card when I die: “In the presence of the angels I will sing your praise). And that got me thinking about Psalm 8: “on the lips of have found praise to foil your enemy.”

The only conclusion I could come to was that Michael, whom I always thought of as practically the personification of power, is probably not really all that strong. In fact, that battle in heaven could have been your typical David and Goliath match, and Michael, to put it bluntly, was not the giant. It was by praise that he “foiled the enemy, silenced the foe and the rebel.” His ardent love and praise of God was the power that overcame Satan and his followers with a titanic supernatural shock wave.

And that selfsame power can be ours.

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