Sunday, October 28, 2007

Angels

Coincidences are moments to stop and wonder, even if they are just coincidences. Last week in venturing into the spiritual exercises on sin, I was to contemplate two types of angels spoken of by Saint Thomas. He believed that once an angel chooses for or against God, they are stuck on that path. The coincidence is not that I saw an angel, but that in being influenced by my friend to read for pleasure, I was reading a book with the two types of angels. In Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle, the two time travelers end up being with Noah and his family. The family has some tension going on as it can be with families, and some of it centered on those in the family who say the angels that have rejected God are OK. The time travelers are helped by the other angels to survive their initial sun exposure and then through out the book.

I was supposed to contemplate whether or not God can create intelligent beings that have no bodies. Who am I to say no to what God can create? My spiritual director points out that Jesus spoke of angels. Who am I to argue with what Jesus saw? In Many Waters the angels spend some of their time in the bodies of a large variety of animals. Each with their own type of animal.

And how blessed are we who can chose against God and then change our minds and return to a life with God. Even today I will at some point be away from God. What if my choice was permanent? My director and I ponder if one can make so many choices, go so far way, that God can not get us back. I think of the lost coin and hope God never stops searching.

Eventually during the week I took myself to my late teens and early 20's when I was separated from God. I am glad I am no angel. I could come back.

But then do they exist? Are they like the unicorns in Many Waters that only exist when believed in? Can I open my heart and mind to believe and then be blessed with angels who transform from the birds who enchant me? This summer I opened my mind to a feminine image of God. Who knows what is possible. Surely not I.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for stopping by my place!

    I went back and read your retreat posts, which are powerful. I am so glad that Sophia revealed herself to you on retreat and that you have continued to seek her. She changed my life and she is gentle even though at times a consuming fire.

    Please be gentle with yourself during the First Week of the Exercises. It can be challenging for those of us with abuse issues. I will pray that it is as graced, and less painful in spots, than my Long Retreat seven years ago.

    I have adapted the Psalms and Compline/Night Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer by replacing he with she and Lord with Sophia. (God remains the same). And adding my personal love name for the Trinity: Mother, Christ, and Holy Spirit. I am finding it lifegiving to pray with in my daily office and if you'd like to try it you can email me at laura AT grimes DOT ws and I'll email you copies.

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  2. I remain open, Wayne, for people to follow their own heart; but, in truth, while angels are mentioned in Scripture, only four are called by name. Two are Heavenly agents, one is Lucifer, himself, and the other is spoken of in Revelation as coming up out of the pits of Hell. I find verse suggesting that we may indeed, at times, entertain angels in unawareness, but nothing to support the idea of such beings assigned unto us as guardians. And, lastly, what the Bible makes quite obvious unto us, what we in the Body cite as a foundation of our faith: the third Member of the Trinity...is either reduced by the Church to merely an untangible acquaintance acquired via Christ, or is falsely replicated by a bunch who think they ARE the Holy Ghost. Neither view has proven itself to be so in my own walk; but, having said all this, I also add that should an angel, for whatever reason, manifest himself unto me, if the Spirit within me bears witness, I'd willingly receive it. Other than that, though, being the skeptic I am, I'd probably ask for credentials....

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  3. Jim-- may an angel riding a unicorn being led by Sophia make you look twice tomorrow. I'm a skeptic myself, better that than a stoic.

    mother laura-- thanks for the reminder to be gentle. The exercises have me feeling a bit wretched and filled with shame. some sins have surfaced which I had not thought of for years.

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  4. I actually a good bit of my First Week remembering sins committed against me and doing healing prayer, including a generational healing mass which one of the Jesuits was kind enough to celebrate for me and my spiritual director. (I looked at my own sins too of course and went to Confession--but did not do the whole life/general confession as I decided that would be unhealthy at that point). I was very grateful to have a director that understood and supported this.

    Because it's both our own sins and those of others, esp. the grave ones, that alienate us from God. Abuse makes us think God is harsh and cruel like the abusers, and run from her, and of course it drives our own sinfulness.

    There is some good material on these issues in a couple of books. Kathleen Fischer's *Women at the Well: Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Direction* and, specifically on the Exercises, *The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed* by Holy Names sisters Elizabeth Liebert, Katherine Dyckman, and Mary Garvin. Both focus on women's experience but are equally applicable to men who are survivors or oppressed because of race or sexual orientation, etc.

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  5. I like Madeleine L'Engle's writing but haven't read Many Waters. I'll have to add that to my reading list. As to the existence of angels, I believe they do exist, although I personally haven't experienced anything one way or the other.

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  6. mother laura- welcome back, thanks for the input. I imagine I will get to the sin of others, oh joy.

    Kievas- I do think it has to do with belief. Can miracles happen if you think they are impossible?

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