Saint/Feast of the Day — Dedication of Saint John Lateran
St. John Lateran: Symbol of church’s coexistence with secular power
The Rite of [a Catholic Church] Dedication Now
Catholic Word of the Day: ST. JOHN LATERAN, 05-26-09
Solemn Mass in the Usus Antiquior (TLM) at the Lateran [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Pontiff Reflects on the Last Supper During Mass at St. John Lateran
THE DEDICATION OF THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR – ST JOHN LATERAN)
[Bishop of Rome — Pope Benedict XVI]to be installed at St. John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral
75th Anniversary of the Lateran Pacts
Liturgical Color: White
Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the
Lateran Basilica in Rome. This basilica is the
oldest of the 4 major basilicas of Rome. It
became the Cathedral of Rome around 311 A.D.
Ordinary Time: November 9th
Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica
Old Calendar: Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Holy Savior; St. Theodore, martyr ; Other Titles: Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica; Dedication of St. John Lateran
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the oldest and highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome. The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, the official ecclesiastical seat of the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, not St. Peter’s Basilica as so many mistakenly believe. The Basilica is also called the Church of Holy Savior or the Church of St. John Baptist. In ancient Rome this was the church where everyone was baptized. It the oldest church in the West, built in the time of Constantine and was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324. This feast became a universal celebration in honor of the archbasilica, the ecclesiastical mother church, called “the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world” (omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput), as a sign of love for and union with the See of Peter.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the commemoration of St. Theodore, a Christian soldier and martyr of Asia Minor.
The Temple of Stones is a Symbol of the Living Church
Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion.
The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence — where the Popes lived until the Avignon period — were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter.
Initially the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome; then, beginning in 1565, it was extended to all the Churches of the Roman rite. The honoring of this sacred edifice was a way of expressing love and veneration for the Roman Church, which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch says, “presides in charity” over the whole Catholic communion (Letter to the Romans, 1:1).
On this solemnity the Word of God recalls an essential truth: the temple of stones is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, which in their letters the Apostles Peter and Paul already understood as a “spiritual edifice,” built by God with “living stones,” namely, Christians themselves, upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ, who is called the “cornerstone” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Ephesians 2:20-22). “Brothers, you are God’s building,” St. Paul wrote, and added: “holy is God’s temple, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:9c, 17).
The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human beings, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.
Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24). But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.
— Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, November 9, 2008
Things to Do:
- Learn more about St. John Lateran;
- This basilica represents the place of baptism, so it would be a good time to renew your baptismal promises;
- It also represents heaven, so we can meditate on the joys of heaven and God’s generosity in giving us sufficient graces to be saved;
- Since St. John Lateran is the Pope’s church, say a prayer for our Holy Father;
- From the Catholic Culture Library: Mother Church of the World.
St. Theodore was a Christian soldier who set on fire the temple of the mother-goddess Cybele at Amasea (303 A.D.). The prefect of the legion promised mercy if he repented his act and renounced the Christian faith. Theodore persevered bravely; accordingly he was cast into prison and his flesh ripped by iron hooks so that his ribs were exposed. In the midst of indescribable torture he sang joyfully, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will ever be in my mouth” (Ps. 33).
Praying and singing the glories of Christ, he was burned alive on November 9. A panegyric by St. Gregory of Nyssa on his virtues is extant. Theodore’s head has been venerated at Cajeta since the Middle Ages. In ancient times, particularly among the Greeks, this soldier-martyr was honored as patron of armies. During the seventh century a church was dedicated to him in Rome, and his picture appears upon the apse mosaic in the church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Symbols: Post and iron hooks; white horse; temple of Cybele in flames; crown of thorns; cross; Roman armour; sword.
Things to Do:
- Well might we marvel at the heroic courage St. Theodore showed in the midst of pain. While suffering horribly he sang songs of praise! And we are so frightened by the smallest ache and become uncomfortable at the very mention of suffering! God does not ask such suffering from us as He did from Theodore, yet He asks that we accept some troubles patiently. If we have any discomfort today, let us offer it up without complaint;
- Also, remember our soldiers and say a prayer for them;
- Read what St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote about St. Theodore.
Meditation: 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17
The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Feast)
You are God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
We don’t typically think of ourselves as a building. But use your imagination. If you could choose to be any kind of building, what would you be? Maybe you’d want to be a simple quaint cottage in the woods. Or perhaps you see yourself as a sleek high-rise condominium in the heart of a vibrant city.
Whatever kind of structure you might prefer to be, consider what gives any building its real value. It’s not the exterior, however beautiful or grand, that makes a house a home. It’s the people who occupy it. It’s the people, the “living stones” who dwell there, that make a building a place of warmth, light, and peace.
Today we celebrate the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, the official seat of the Holy Father. The basilica’s stunning architecture, inlaid marble, colorful mosaics, and finely carved statues attract visitors from around the world. But it’s not the building’s beauty and majesty we celebrate today. It’s the “living stones” that have filled it over the centuries. It’s the faithful members of the Church whose hearts and minds are filled with Jesus and his Spirit.
Whatever kind of building you imagine yourself to be, it’s unlikely you would describe yourself as that beautiful basilica. Few of us would be so bold as to compare ourselves to such a magnificent building! But Paul reminds us that it’s not our exterior that matters. It’s what is inside of us. Through our baptism, God lives in us. We radiate the presence of his only beloved Son. Our heavenly Father sees many different facets of his beauty and his glory in us. And that makes you just as beautiful as the most grandly constructed cathedral.
Today, no matter what kind of building you think you are, let God show you who you really are. You are the space where he comes and abides. The glory of the Lord shines through every window of your heart. Because you are his building, he depends on you. You are that warm and inviting place where other people can encounter Jesus.
“Jesus, I want to be your building. Help me to reach those who most need you.”
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
November 9, 2018 – The Indestructible Temple
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica Father Steven Reilly, LC
John 2: 13-22
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me, and I hope in your boundless mercy and love. Thank you for watching over me and keeping me in your friendship. Thank you for the precious gift of our Mother, the Church.
Petition: Lord, increase my zeal!
- The Indestructible Temple: Today we celebrate the dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, known as the “mother and head of all the churches.” Going to Rome and visiting this wonderful church, now some seventeen centuries old, one gets a sense of the durability of Catholicism. The Catholic Church has been around for a long time, and it will be around for a lot longer — until judgment day, to be exact. No matter how hard the world has tried, it hasn’t been able to destroy the temple of the Church. This should give us a deep confidence that the Lord is with us as we journey through history.
- Purification: Being indestructible doesn’t mean, however, that the Catholic Church does not need constant purification. When our Lord came to the temple in Jerusalem, he found many things that marred the spirit of prayer and devotion that was to characterize that sacred building. His vigorous reaction serves to underline the high vocation of holiness that God had given to the Chosen People. We Catholics have inherited that call; yet all too often, the ways of the world creep into our souls. Each one of us needs to submit to the Lord’s purification. He will challenge us in our conscience, and sometimes that will sting like the whip of cords. But if we are sincere in our desires, we accept this with humility, aware that our souls must be living temples of God’s presence.
- Consuming Zeal: When the apostles contemplated our Lord’s action in the temple, “zeal” was the word that summed it all up. Jesus is zealous because he doesn’t accept the status quo of entrenched mediocrity. The day he arrives it is no longer business as usual: His Father’s house WILL be respected. Too often we let the barnacles of laziness and the accretions of apathy weigh down and extinguish our zeal. Every day we must pray that the Lord will once again “enkindle in our hearts the fire of his love.” Our zeal in living the faith is part of the way God works to make this temple of his Church indestructible. Don’t we want to cooperate with his love, so that the “gates of hell will not prevail?”
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I love your Church. I thank you for the priceless gift of my Catholic faith. Protect the Church from all her enemies and help me to be an effective apostle filled with authentic zeal.
Resolution: I will offer myself to collaborate in a parish ministry or other Catholic apostolate out of love for the Church.
November 9, 2018
In the leansing and purification of the Temple, Jesus drew attention to himself as the new Temple. The presence of God was no longer signified in a man-made Temple but now realized in his Person. Then the Father’s goodness, righteousness and justice would be most visible, like in the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem.
The lesson we draw from the Gospel reading is how we too are called to purification and perfection, starting from our individual selves to our collective selves as a people. We begin our cleansing with the symbols that shape our individual identities: the personal values we hold, the truth we profess, our personal views of the world. We ask ourselves whether our living out of these symbols and values reflects the laws of God, expresses righteousness, radiates goodness and renders truth and justice. We also ask ourselves if we are able to make the necessary sacrifices of humility by allowing ourselves to be corrected to give way to what is right and good and to bring our personal interests in harmony with the greater common good.
On the societal level we ask ourselves if we are actively vigilant in protecting our collective symbols and values as a people from being perverted by selfish and ill-willed individuals or groups in our society. We make a collective examination of conscience if we have not instead contributed to the decay and fading away of the symbols of our collective identity by allowing ourselves to be used because we stand to benefit from the lies, deceptions and manipulations of many. What are these collective symbols we should protect and preserve as a people? These are the laws of our country, our social and political structures, our culture and common ethics, our social and religious celebrations.
Why this purification and cleansing? Because we are temples of the Holy Spirit in the world. We are in the presence of God in the world. We are indeed God’s presence in the world. In us God carries out his continuing mission of liberating and saving the world.
One Bread, One Body
Language: English | Espanol
Avignon, Musee du Petit Palais
Ordinary Time: September 29th
Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels
Old Calendar: Dedication of the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel (Michaelmas Day)
The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael (Who is like God?) was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel (Strength of God) announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, “Hail, full of grace,” is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael (Medicine of God) is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Michael. St. Gabriel is observed on March 24 and St. Raphael on October 24.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that, “[T]he existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.”
Angels are pure, created spirits. The name angel means servant or messenger of God. Angels are celestial or heavenly beings, on a higher order than human beings. Angels have no bodies and do not depend on matter for their existence or activity. They are distinct from saints, which men can become. Angels have intellect and will, and are immortal. They are a vast multitude, but each is an individual person. Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels listed in the Bible. In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.
The name of the archangel Michael means, in Hebrew, who is like unto God? and he is also known as “the prince of the heavenly host.” He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armor and wearing sandals. His name appears in Scripture four times, twice in the Book of Daniel, and once each in the Epistle of St. Jude and the Book of Revelation. From Revelation we learn of the battle in heaven, with St. Michael and his angels combatting Lucifer and the other fallen angels (or devils). We invoke St. Michael to help us in our fight against Satan; to rescue souls from Satan, especially at the hour of death; to be the champion of the Jews in the Old Testament and now Christians; and to bring souls to judgment.
This day is referred to as “Michaelmas” in many countries and is also one of the harvest feast days. In England this is one of the “quarter days”, which was marked by hiring servants, electing magistrates, and beginning of legal and university terms. This day also marks the opening of the deer and other large game hunting season. In some parts of Europe, especially Germany, Denmark, and Austria, a special wine called “Saint Michael’s Love” (Michelsminne) is drunk on this day. The foods for this day vary depending on nationality. In the British Isles, for example, goose was the traditional meal for Michaelmas, eaten for prosperity, France has waffles or Gaufres and the traditional fare in Scotland used to be St. Michael’s Bannock (Struan Micheil) — a large, scone-like cake. In Italy, gnocchi is the traditional fare.
Patron: Against temptations; against powers of evil; artists; bakers; bankers; battle; boatmen; cemeteries; coopers; endangered children; dying; Emergency Medical Technicians; fencing; grocers; hatmakers; holy death; knights; mariners; mountaineers; paramedics; paratroopers; police officers; radiologists; sailors; the sick; security forces; soldiers; against storms at sea; swordsmiths; those in need of protection; Brussels, Belgium; Caltanissett, Sicily; Cornwall, England; Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida; England; Germany; Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama; Papua, New Guinea; Puebla, Mexico; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Sibenik, Croatia; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Symbols: Angel with wings; dressed in armour; lance and shield; scales; shown weighing souls; millstone; piercing dragon or devil; banner charged with a dove; symbolic colors orange or gold.
St. Gabriel’s name means “God is my strength”. Biblically he appears three times as a messenger. He had been sent to Daniel to explain a vision concerning the Messiah. He appeared to Zachary when he was offering incense in the Temple, to foretell the birth of his son, St. John the Baptist. St. Gabriel is most known as the angel chosen by God to be the messenger of the Annunciation, to announce to mankind the mystery of the Incarnation.
The angel’s salutation to our Lady, so simple and yet so full of meaning, Hail Mary, full of grace, has become the constant and familiar prayer of all Christian people.
Patron: Ambassadors; broadcasting; childbirth; clergy; communications; diplomats; messengers; philatelists; postal workers; public relations; radio workers; secular clergy; stamp collectors; telecommunications; Portugal; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Symbols: Archangel; sceptre and lily; MR or AM shield; lantern; mirror; olive branch; scroll with words Ave Maria Gratia Plena; Resurrection trumpet; shield; spear; lily; symbolic colors, silver or blue.
Our knowledge of the Archangel Raphael comes to us from the book of Tobit. His mission as wonderful healer and fellow traveller with the youthful Tobias has caused him to be invoked for journeys and at critical moments in life. Tradition also holds that Raphael is the angel that stirred the waters at the healing sheep pool in Bethesda. His name means “God has healed”.
Patron: Blind; bodily ills; counselors; druggists; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; healers; health inspectors; health technicians; love; lovers; mental illness; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; shepherds; against sickness; therapists; travellers; young people; young people leaving home for the first time; Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Symbols: Staff; wallet and fish; staff and gourd; archangel; young man carrying a staff; young man carrying a fish; walking with Tobias; holding a bottle or flask; symbolic colors, gray or yellow.
Things to Do:
- This is a good feast to learn more about the angels. Children especially are fascinated by these celestial beings. The best place to start is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 328-336 to see the teachings of the Church on angels. John Paul II also did a Catechesis on the Angels during his General Audiences from July 9 to August 20, 1986.
- Find the passages in the Bible about angels, in particular the passages about Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
- Read the section on angels in the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy. The document examines the doctrine and devotions of the angels. Devotion to angels is good, but also can have deviations.
Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by:
- devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man;
- an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God — serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels. Among the prayers to the Guardian Angels the Angele Dei is especially popular, and is often recited by families at morning and evening prayers, or at the recitation of the Angelus.
217. Popular devotion to the Holy Angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:
- when, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and daemons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer;
- when the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the devil and all success to the Guardian Angels. The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.
- Also read All About the Angels.
- Memorize the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Although no longer formally recited after Mass, our Holy Father John Paul II has encouraged us to recite this prayer daily. Read about this prayer. Here is the Regina Caeli message from April 24, 1994 during which the pope encouraged this prayer.
- In honor of St. Gabriel, Learn the Angelus and recite it daily. Traditionally, the prayer is prayed at the 6:00 and 12:00 hours (am and pm). There is a partial indulgence attached to those who pray this prayer.
- Read the Book of Tobit for the story of St. Raphael helping Tobit and Tobias.
- Make some recipes related to Michaelmas. Of special mention is the St. Michael Bannock from Scotland, roast goose and stuffing from Britain, waffles from France, and roast duck from Germany or France, gnocchi from Italy. Blackberries, apples and carrots also play a large role on this feast in various countries. Other ideas: make an angel food cake, devil’s food cake or angel hair pasta. Decorate with white, symbolizing the angels, or use other symbolic colors (see above). Non-dessert items: deviled eggs, deviled meats, etc.
- Try to find the Michaelmas daisy, a purple aster, to use for decoration. It also comes in other colors, including white, but purple is the most popular. It usually blooms in late summer until October. The official name is Aster novi-belgii, but is also known as New York aster. If you find plants or seeds to plan for next year’s garden. This site has photos and gardening information for the Michaelmas daisy.
- Folklore in the British Isles suggests that Michaelmas day is the last day that blackberries can be picked. It is said that when St. Michael expelled Lucifer, the devil, from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. Satan cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, and stamped and spat on them, so that they would be unfit for eating. A Traditional Irish proverb says:
On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on the blackberries.If you have access to blackberries, make this the last picking and eating. Perhaps make a blackberry pie? See Michaelmas Pie for a great recipe.
Meditation: John 1:47-51
Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels (Feast)
You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. (John 1:51)
When you think about the future, how do you feel? If you’re looking forward to a family wedding or the arrival of a new baby, you might be very excited. If you’re not sure you have enough cash to cover your bills next month or you’re awaiting the results of a high-stakes medical test, you might be anxious. Our view of the future is often colored by what we are experiencing in the present.
Our hope in the future with God in heaven is also affected by what we believe now. After Nathanael’s declaration that Jesus was the “Son of God” and the “King of Israel,” Jesus said Nathanael would one day see him in glory surrounded by the angels in heaven (John 1:49). That privileged glimpse into the future was predicated on the present—Nathanael’s belief in Jesus.
Nathanael could make that statement of faith because he was so amazed that Jesus saw into his heart, even though they had just met. In that moment, Nathanael knew he was known and loved by God.
That’s why it’s important for us to continually reaffirm our faith. If we doubt that Jesus knows us as well as he knew Nathanael, or if we wonder how he could love us, then we may not be so sure that we will even make it to heaven. We may even think we don’t deserve to live with Jesus forever.
So follow Nathanael’s lead and make your own declaration of faith. Every day, repeat to yourself, “God has known me before I was born. He loves me more than anyone else could. He longs to spend eternity with me.”
Over time, as you internalize these truths, your perspective on the future will change. You’ll begin to look forward to that day in heaven when you finally see Jesus face-to-face. Can you imagine standing before the throne of God, with his angels and archangels “ascending and descending,” just as Jesus promised (John 1:51)?
Heaven is filled with God’s saints and angels, and God wants you to join them. For us who believe, the future couldn’t look brighter!
“Lord, I want to spend eternity with you.”
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
“The angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man”
“I believe in one God…, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all that is, visible and invisible.” The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition. St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.'” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 18:10),they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Ps 103:20). As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness (cf Dan 10:9).
Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him” (Mt 25:31). They belong to him because they were created through and for him: “for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him,” (Col 1:16). They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” (Heb 1:14).
Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan.
Saturday, September 29
Liturgical Color: White
Today is the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and
Raphael, archangels. They are the only angels
honored by name by the Church. Tradition holds that
we can look to Michael for help to repel Satan,
especially at the hour of death.
Feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael, Archangels
John 1: 47-51
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I approach this time of prayer earnestly. I believe that you have called me to be faithful and loving in your service. I thank you along with Mary, the saints and the holy angels for the marvelous works of creation. I will humbly try to reflect your greatness to all I meet today by honestly fulfilling my duty.
Petition: Lord, help me be an instrument of your peace and love.
- Honesty Is the Best Policy: Once as Jesus spent the whole night in prayer, he searched for apostles that would be honest and sincere. Jesus took a liking to Nathanael when he discovered an Israelite without guile in his heart. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him. It seems that Jesus admired this angelic trait in men. As soon as he saw Philip bringing Nathanael forward to meet him, Jesus immediately noticed the virtue Nathanael lived. If I want to be highly thought of by Jesus, then I need to be sincere in mind and heart.
- The Holy Angels: The Church venerates today the holy service of three of the archangels. They stand out for their honest love for God’s most holy will. With such fidelity, St. Gabriel faithfully delivered the most important messages of human history to Zacharias and Mary. St. Michael wrestled with Lucifer and cast him out of heaven. St. Raphael came to the aid of Tobias in the Old Testament. In these angels there isn’t any duplicity of heart. God asks them a favor and they truly fulfill it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to implement our talents and gifts toward a service of this nature? Wouldn’t it be great to be honest instruments of God’s infinite love like these three archangels?
- The Lord’s Gaze: Jesus looks into the heart and doesn’t judge by appearances. Christ’s gaze penetrated Nathanael on this occasion. Jesus penetrates the motives of my heart even though they are kept hidden from the others. Jesus is the first one to know if I am true to the faith I have received. If I am faithful to the dictates of my conscience and obey God’s lead, in private or in public, then I have nothing to hide and nothing to lose. If on the other hand, I am dwindling in my surrender to Christ by boredom and monotony, then it is about time I sought renewal. Christ needs me! How many are dying and fading away because they lack Christ and his love? I, in turn, have been graced by many special spiritual favors! Jesus gazes into my eyes and dreams of my fidelity and love.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the example of these three archangels and of the holy apostles. The holy apostles ended up shedding their blood for you and the holy angels aid us on our journey towards you. Lord, seeing so many lacking the faith, I resolve to be your tireless instrument, like them, so that many may come to praise you for all eternity.
Resolution: I will visit the Eucharist (if this is impossible, then kneel before the crucifix) and repeat confidently, Lord I wish to be your instrument – help me!
One Bread, One Body
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