Mar 3, 2009

A Lenten Reflection: Angels

There’s a lot of talk these days about Angels. I can recall as a child praying to my “guardian angel”, we hear stories in the gospel of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and many find comfort and inspiration from these guardians of the faith.

An excellent reflection from the first Sunday of Lent by Pope Benedict XVI bears another look. From the Vatican News Service:

Today, the first Sunday of Lent, Benedict XVI presided at the praying of the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Before the Marian prayer the Pope reflected upon the passage from the Gospel of St. Mark which describes how Satan tempted Jesus in the desert.

"In the desert - a place of trial, as evinced by the experience of the People of Israel - the truth of the 'kenosis' becomes dramatically evident: that is, the 'emptying' of Christ Who divested Himself of divine form. He, Who did not sin and could not sin, subjected Himself to trial and so was able to share our weakness".

"Against this dark and shadowy figure who dared tempt the Lord, stand the angels, luminous and mysterious beings" who are "counterpoints to Satan.

'Angel' means 'messenger'. Throughout the Old Testament we find these figures who, in the name of God, help and guide mankind.... At the beginning of the New Testament Gabriel is sent to announce ... the joyful events that begin our salvation. ... A choir of angels brings the shepherds the good news of the birth of the Saviour, and it is angels who announce to the women the joyous news of His resurrection".

"If we were to disregard these beings sent by God we would remove a considerable portion of the Gospel", said Pope Benedict. "They announce His presence among us and are a sign thereof. Let us, then, call upon them often that they may support us in the task of following Jesus and identifying ourselves with Him".

The Holy Father concluded his remarks by calling upon the angels to watch over him and his collaborators in the Roman Curia as they perform their annual Lenten spiritual exercises, which are due to begin this evening.

As we continue our Lenten journey, we pray for the angels who watch over us. A constant companion on our travels, may we be enlightened by their example and inspired by their stories.

We remember, we celebrate, we believe…

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