That's exactly what I was doing one day almost twenty years ago -- speaking of angels. A group with whom I met regularly in those days had asked me to compose a reflection for the Advent season. A friend who remembers the talk asked me about it last week near the feasts of the angels. Some passages in the reflection sound like I could have written them twenty minutes ago rather than twenty years ago. I still need such angels.
Like Gabriel, angels appear in our lives in the people
who by their very presence invite our lives to be different.
Such angels appear in the people
who refuse to abandon a message before it has been heard,
in people who tirelessly ask us to respond,
to believe the good news of what’s possible.
Like Michael, there are angels in our lives
who fight and speak up for us.
They give us the courage to face whatever’s in our way.
Like Michael, these angels give us strength
against those voices that tell us we can’t do something,
that we’re not good enough.
Like Raphael, there are certain angels
who travel with us
through darkness, through pain,
even to the foot of a cross.
Like Raphael, such angels may be hard to see, to discern,
especially on journeys whose end we cannot guess or imagine.
An invitation has been quietly extended to each of us
to give a name to what we know is unnameable.
It is the experience of grace,
grace felt when we are inspired to pray,
to quiet ourselves,
to acknowledge that ours is a God
who protects us and challenges us,
who speaks to us and invites us to respond.