Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blog Tour for "The Feasts" - The Holy Angels

The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as CatholicsThe Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics by Donald Cardinal Wuerl

I reviewed The Feasts yesterday. Today, as part of the blog tour, we'll take a look at The Holy Angels bit of the book which includes The Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael on September 29 and the Memorial of the Guardian Angels on October 2.

Devotion to the angels is something integral to the life of God's people. It is a practice that christians and Jews have kept since ancient times, and for good reason. Angels do not move people like chess pieces. They live in relationship with us. The prophet Zechariah quizzed the angels sent to guide him. The young man Tobias spent days in conversation with his heavenly traveling companion. Saint Augustine often described our relationships with the angels as "friendship." God created us to be social, and our society is both earthly and heavenly. It includes family members who look like we do, and family members who are pure spirits and have no physical appearance whatsoever. Yet they are with us, and we should acknowledge them, and we should be grateful for their help.
The Feasts contains one of the best short summaries of angels I've ever seen. In just a few pages we are told the nature of angels and the Scriptural evidence, introduced to the archangels and guardian angels, and told about Michaelmas as a traditional day.

I know whereof I speak. I have read many books about angels.


What made me grab these feast days for the blog tour was recalling that in the fall after I entered the Church I was just beginning to observe the liturgical year a bit more than the basics. I had just splurged for the devotional In Conversation with God, Feasts July-December by Francis Fernandez when Tom's father had a stroke and we had to rush to Houston.

It was a dire time with much worse news than we could have imagined about his health. I remember brushing my teeth but needing something inspirational no matter how late it was in the day. Wanting to "do it right" I plunged in at our chronological point in time to see what upcoming feasts to expect. It was the Feast of the Archangels and the way this book did it was to not skimp over a single one. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael each had their own fascinating three-part feast written up. And right behind it — the Guardian Angels! Hey, I'd been wondering about them!

The knowledge of those angels helped hold me up during those days of trial.

That was my first introduction to the idea that I could have my own relationship not only with angels but with feast days. I now have some that I celebrate although our local parish doesn't mention them. I know that somewhere in the world there are parishes who are uniting with me in celebrating yet another unique way that our lives are united to that of Christ.

In those early days I was fumbling my way through understanding feast days and angels and many other "basics" of Catholic life. I'd definitely have welcomed a book like The Feasts which not only informs but inspires.

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