September 29: A day to listen for, a day to listen to angels

When it comes to our celebrations of the sanctoral calendar, we run the risk of turning the saints (or today, angels) into mere objects or commodities. On this feast of the archangels perhaps it would be more fruitful to set aside some silent space—today may be the day when God has sent a messenger.

(image: Christ with the archangels Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and—since Yom Kippur begins at sundown today, and in a gesture of ecumenism—Uriel.)

In times when angels were more listened to
They had more inclination to advise.
A case in point: their timely word to the wise,
Sufficient from their Eastern point of view,
To find for home a safer avenue,
A road less traveled, out of Herod’s eyes.
And as for Joseph, may we not surmise
That this same angel told him what to do:
To flee at once with Mary and the boy
To Egypt, well beyond the reach of him
Who would reduce a rival limb from limb
And in the process many more destroy.

An anti-Herod herald came to see—
Though in reverse—an exodus of three.

Christopher FitzGerald
“Sonnets to the Unseen: A Life of Christ”


  1. A bit of sublimity to share:

    “Heaven is Here” from Benjamin Britten’s “The Company of Heaven” (1937) – a pearl from his pen:

    Heaven is here and the angels of Heaven.
    It is given to them to guard, guide, warn and conduct us on earth.
    Many winged, many eyed, mighty in love,
    They stand watch at our birth, stand watch at our death,
    Bringing us along the road, bringing us peace.
    Ear may not hear, eye may not see, but about us, around us,
    In town and in temple, at our work, at our play, as a cloud, as a light,
    In the night, in the day, the angels assemble,
    praying, fighting, singing, rejoicing
    For you, for me, for all the children of God.
    Heaven is here and the angels of heaven.

    1. Haha! There should be some prize for being the first to catch that. Must have had October’s Guardian Angels on the brain!

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