Sunday, September 30, 2007

comings and goings

This coming Thursday I'm off for a Cursillo weekend. I've worked on several teams over the years, but this will be my first time to actually serve in the capacity of spiritual advisor... a task reserved for priests, deacons and members of religious orders. I must write and deliver two talks: one on faith, the other on obstacles to grace. The latter is a no-brainer; I've probably encountered every single obstacle the dark force can throw... naming obstacles is easy.

Faith is trickier. I'm working on that in my mind right now. However, I just can't concentrate. I'm still pondering St. Michael and all Angels. (That would be all the good angels) We observed his (their) feast day yesterday. I should be done with Michael, but maybe he deserves more than one day. We're talking one important player here.

Here's what the book of Daniel has to say: At that time Michael, the great prince who protects the people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

On special feast days we use antiphons that refer to the particular feast. Two of the ones we used yesterday were especially cryptic. This one prefaced The Benedictus: There was silence in heaven while the dragon waged war: and Michael fought and gained the victory. Alleluia. Another said: The accuser of the people is cast down and has been overthrown; therefore rejoice O heavens and all that dwells in them.

The accuser of the people, (not the tempter, not the defiler) of course describes Satan. Michael is cast as our protector. Makes me wonder why the principalities would even care enough to fight over us, and what stake Michael has in protecting the human element?

There was silence in heaven: as though the entire cosmic creation were holding its collective breath for the outcome. We hear these stories in the past tense... as if the events were ancient history. But, most of these writings refer to the end times, and we're still waiting for time (as we know it) to end. If this has already happened, well and good. But if it is an event still to come... why would heaven be silent? Warfare is a noisy business, whether it's swords clashing or ballistic missiles rocketing through space. Yet somewhere in the ancient monastic writings, someone described this battle as silent. Gives me the shivers.

1 comment:

Pat said...

De Colores!