Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.
If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming
back from wherever I went.
I will be waiting here….
For your silence to break,
For your soul to shake,
For your love to wake!
We have been in the season of Visiting Angels and Daring Dreams. Lives were touched and directions reconsidered – this is what happens when the air is filled with angels work and a showering of God’s love.
Joseph slept only to hear the voice of an angel saying, take Mary as your wife as you have planned She has said yes to carrying the sacred child, the son of God. She will need the strength of your shoulder and the comfort of your love.
So they traveled to a place they had never been before- together. There the baby was born. Maybe Joseph stood in awe as the miracle of sacred birth unfolded before him and maybe he tried to find his place as the stable filled with shepherds and wise men from another country far away. It was through an angel’s visit in a dream that his will was strengthed to begin this uncharted journey.
And once again he lay to sleep in a stable, rough and bare, only to be roused by another dream, an angel’s visit. Awaken, pack quickly. King Herod has entered this day in a rage.
The wise men rose from their sleep having been warned in a dream that Herod could not be trusted. They left by a different path. And then the unthinkable occurred. Hundreds of young children were killed by Herod’s command. Herod – a King in Jerusalem angered by the news of a newborn child who had come to bring peace and serve justice.
Joseph’s life was changed forever. These angel-filled dreams guided him as he began to follow a path unlike any he could have imagined.
We are now in our own season of Visiting Angels and Daring Dreams. We must stay alert – for the path ahead will certainly be filled with experiences unfamiliar. May we listen closely remembering that angels often appear in unexpected ways. May we pay attention to our dreams for through them our ‘souls may shake’ and ‘love awake’.
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)
I really like this portrayal of the Magi given to us by the artist, He Qi. These three kings look to be resting so peacefully. During this time of angel visits and instructions through dreams, there is a sense of awakening but no fear. Ideas are planted and their deep trust in the signs and wonders of their own faith tradition encourage them to pack for adventure and follow the prophetic star.
It is Epiphany – a time when we hear stories of innocence and evil. A child free from guilt is born and ‘angels in their joy dance across the sky with song’. Good news is sent to shepherds and visions to kings far to the East. The earth is electric with hope and celebration.
But as always the story is balanced with other reactions. The ruling Roman king, Herod, does not find this birth good news but a threat. He would turn the joyful moments into horror killing small boys as an act of ultimate insecurity.
Something about this story feels painfully familiar. Our world today is filled with examples of horrible actions taken due to insecurity and greed. So how do we recognize the news from angels in our dreams and live in hope?
Isaiah’s prophetic wisdom reminds us that through darkness light shines. We hear his cry, ‘Arise, shine for your light has come.’ This is a call to action. We must carry that light like a candle needing shelter in the wind. For it is still a young flame and it’s earthly protectors are still forming family.
When the kings and shepherds have returned to their homes, we are still here, present as this young family begins a risky journey to Egypt so to hide in safety until they can return to their own land and make home.
It is Epiphany. A time of enlightenment and honor. Like those wise ones from the East, may we pay attention to our surroundings and nurture our own faith-in-practice.
(Grateful thanks is given for the inspiration shared by John Foley S. J.)
Was it a normal day? How would she ever remember? One minute she was sweeping the floor or brushing her hair and the next… Angels arrive. Maybe there was bright light, maybe her ears rang with music – certainly she felt her ground shift.
The angel knew her name and shared God’s greeting. She was blessed and God’s beloved. What did this mean? She was confused and could not understand why the angel stood before her. In turn she was comforted and told not to be afraid (something angels often need to do).
Mary was awakened in the middle of the day, when sleep was not a part of the schedule. Before her stood an angel, an archangel, proclaiming news too remarkable to fathom. Her eyes were open, yet what she saw and heard must have felt like a dream.
This ‘announcing’ visit filled her with a brilliant awareness. As quick as she was visited by this angel, she was once again, alone. She could only comprehend this news with the strength and courage one gets from acting on faith. She did not know the story’s end but was willing to be this important part of its beginning.
These “visits” are filled with the mystery of God’s movement. There is little logic, for we, like Mary, are asked to use our intuition – to step forward in faith.
There are scary things happening in this world. Where fear is not real, it appears people are trying to create it. May we walk through these days assuring ourselves and those we meet ‘all will be well’, living in faith not fear.
Be not afraid Angel words to humans Fear not Easier said than done Let not your hearts be troubled Divine words There is so much to make us afraid So many things that are just wrong and hard So many broken places, people and hearts – so many sobbing… My heart, your heart, Boston, Texas, Conn, Oklahoma, Ground Zero, the world, the world, the world… Your heart, my soul Your mind, my heart Be not afraid Fear not Let not your hearts be troubled… May God help us not to give into fear and or despair… Encourage a friend today… Encourage yourself Fear not…