Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Traddie picture of the day: The power of the angels

As we take up the spiritual battle through Lent, it is worth remembering the help the angels can give us, and indeed the Pope's most recent Angelus was on exactly this subject.

Talking about Our Lord's temptation in the desert, he notes (translation from Papa Ratinger Forum):

"...Almost fleetingly, in the brevity of the account, against this dark and shadowy figure which dares to tempt the Lord, angels appear, luminous and mysterious figures. The angels, says the Gospel, 'ministered to' Jesus (Mk 1,13).

They are the counterpoint to Satan.

'Angel' means 'a person sent', a messenger.

In all the Old Testament, we find these figures, who in the name of God, help and guide men.

Let us recall the Book of Tobias, where the angel Raphael appears to assist the protagonist in so many vicissitudes.

The reassuring presence of the angel of the Lord accompanies the people of Israel in all its experiences, good and bad.

On the threshold of the New Testament, Gabriel is sent to announce to Zachariah and to Mary the happy events that are begin the story of our salvation.

And an angel, whose name is not told us, advises Joseph and orients him in his time of uncertainty.

A chorus of angels brings the shepherds the good news of the birth of the Savior, just as it was angels who announced to the women of Jerusalem the joyous news of the Resurrection.

At the end of time, angels will accompany Jesus when he comes in glory (cfr Mt 25,31).

The angels ministered to Jesus, who is certainly superior to them, and this elevated status comes forth in the Gospel, proclaimed clearly though discreetly. Indeed, even in situations of extreme poverty and humility, when he is tempted by Satan, he remains the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, we discard a noteworthy part of the Gospel when we set aside these beings sent by God, who announce his presence among us, and of whom they are a sign. Let us invoke them often, so that they may support us in the task of following Jesus to the point of identifying ourselves with him...."

PS The Pope particularly asked for prayers to the angels for himself and curia members on retreat this week...

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