SINGLE MINDED DEVOTION: A HOMILY ON THE FEAST OF THE ARCHANGELS, BY FR. IFEANYICHUKWU HENRY NWOKORO CSsR, BENIN
ARE YOU A LEARNER?
When we first started learning how to drive, a joke developed around a certain brother, who, whenever he is driving does not welcome any kind of distraction. If someone he knew was to greet him by the side, he would just give a very quick, snappy and very brief wave and continue to look forward. Most people, when they started driving were like that. Later when they feel they have become very good at it, they relax and that is usually when the first accident happens.
Jesus describes Nathaniel as an Israelite in whom there is no deciet. This means that Nathaniel is a signle-minded person like my brother. The are spirits, like we see in the first reading, who constatly worship and serve God in a single-minded devotion. There are millions of Angels, belonging to different ranks according to the 9 choirs. The two who are closest to the throne of God are the Seraphim and Cherubim, while the others are Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. In a manner of speaking, we can say that the closest to God are the Seraphim and Cherubim, while the closest to us are the Angels and Archangels. We celebrate these special Archangels for at least three reasons. The first is that we know their names as revealed in the books of Tobit, Revelation and the Gospel of St. Luke, among other passages. Secondly Each of them have played special roles in the Bible. St. Michael (Who is like God), led the fight against Satan and other fallen angels. St. Gabrel (Strength of God) brought important messages to Zachariah and to Our Blessed Mother, Mary. St. Raphael (God’s Remedy), brought healing to Tobit.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM
The third and very important reason is that they still minister to us. St. Michael still helps us in fighting Satan and other evil spirits. We are in constant spiritual battle with the evil one and this is why it is encouraged to always pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel as part of our morning prayer, before we go out to face the new day, after every mass, before we go out to live out the gospel and the sacraments we have recieved, and before we go to bed at night. St. Gabriel still brings us God’s message even though we may not hear it audibly. St. Raphael still brings us healing from God and it is important that sick people and those praying for the sick to ask the intercession of St. Raphael the Archangel.
JESUS’ PROMISE TO THE PURE IN HEART
Jesus promised Nathaniel that he will see heaven opened and above it the Son of Man, and the angels of God ascending and descending. If Angels did not exist, Jesus would not have promised that we will see them. However, we are told that only the pure in heart can see God. Nathaniel has been declared pure in heart, and what follows is a promise that he will not only see God, but angels as well. The world is full of distractions, which prevent us from being single-minded in serving God. Satan torments us everyday. We hear the wrong messages from all kinds of humans and spirits, we suffer hunger and sickness and other needs. May the Archangels intercede for us so that we will not live like people who already know how to drive. Let us be learners, so that we can focus and give full attending to the Lord. It is hard for any of us to claim to be completely pure in heart. Let us continue to leart, especially from the example of the Angels who have no other business besides loving, serving and being with God.