Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for October 2, 2005

This weekend’s Gospel and First Reading remind us of the great responsibility we have as Catholics to preserve the Faith given to us by the Lord. We have inherited the “Lord’s Vineyard,” not for ourselves, but in His service. Someday, we will be asked to render an account of this service. On October 2nd, the Church celebrates the feast of those who help us in our service of the Lord: our Guardian Angels.

Angels are pure spirits (having no body), created by God for His glory. The word “angel” is derived from the Greek angelos and Latin angelus, or messenger. In his teaching on angels, St. Augustine teaches that “angel” is not what this being is, but rather what this being does. Therefore, an angel is “a spiritual, personal, and immortal creature, with intelligence and free will, who glorifies God and who serves God as a messenger of His divine plan” (CCC, glossary). The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses angels in paragraphs 328 – 336.

The existence of angels is a truth of our Faith; they have been present since creation and throughout salvation history. Angels are not human beings who have entered heaven; angels are not trying to “earn their wings” (as Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life); angels are not generic “ideas”, “lesser gods,” or other independent spiritual beings. Angels are, on the other hand, sent by God to further His plan of salvation. Angels have appeared throughout the Old and New Testaments, including various warnings and prophecies, helping Tobias find his wife, and most importantly announcing the Incarnation to the Blessed Virgin and ministering to our Lord after the temptation in the desert and during the Agony in the Garden.

Just as importantly, each Christian has a “Guardian Angel,” who protects and guides him or her to heaven. We should pray often to our guardian angel, invoking his assistance when we experience temptation, difficulty, or danger. The Angelus, traditionally prayed at morning, noon, and evening, is also an excellent devotion that reminds us of the angels’ role in salvation. Don’t forget to invoke the angels in your morning, evening, and mealtime prayers!

The Church also celebrates St. Francis of Assisi this week, on October 4th. St. Francis is most often associated with kindness toward animals, but more importantly his profound spiritual life and deep love of our Lord encourage us to follow in his footsteps. Francis was born in 1181 in Assisi, Italy; he died on the evening of October 3, 1226. Although he led a worldly life as a youth, he experienced a sincere conversion and complete change of heart when he encountered a wretched leper on the street. Initially repulsed by the horrible sight, Francis was filled with the Holy Spirit and controlling his natural disgust, leapt from his horse and embraced the sick man and gave him all the money he had.

Many more fabulous stories about St. Francis exist: we hear of his love for the poor, his concern for the Church, his intense mystical life (including the stigmata) and his efforts to establish the Franciscan order. His life of poverty and penance reminds us to likewise foster a heart for the poor and to live our own lives in a penitential spirit, united with Christ upon the Cross. We should invoke St. Francis’ intercession in our own efforts to help the poor, and his example should inspire us to volunteer our time, talent, on treasure on their behalf.

Have a blessed week, and may God bless you. Please pray for vocations!