I always remember the feast day of the archangels because of the numbers: 9-29. My son Peter was born on 12-29, so I guess the symmetry of the numbers is a handy device for my memory. But I didn’t really think about the importance of these angels until I met an exorcist.
Father Mottet passes out the “Prayer to St. Michael” wherever he goes. He says we need the help of this powerful angel, who cast Satan out of heaven, in order to fight big temptations. The necessity of angels as everyday helpers became clear when as I listened to Father Mottet speaking.
But, like many people, I still didn’t have any real sense of angels. With the busy-ness of life, I was missing a lot of spiritual things. Not until we moved to a farm in the country did I slow down enough to notice a few things.
When I go out to do barnyard chores, I open the door gently. The early morning sun illumines thousands of dancing dust particles. I remember one time when my little girl spontaneously called out, “Look Mommy. Those are tiny angels!
If those particles are really angels, then we are totally surrounded by them! And what a pleasant thought that is. Angels are God’s messengers and “clerks.” They have a really hard job because we humans are deaf to the spirit world. So the angels dance and push and try to get our attention. And most of the time, we turn blind as well. Blind and deaf, stubborn and oblivious, we miss the good stuff…the blessings all around.
But as I open my eyes to notice the dust floating in the air, and open my ears to hearing the sounds of clucking chickens, I feel a deep sense of peace. It’s almost like bathing in light. There is order and beauty and rhythm to this world God created. The horses whinny from the pasture. The clouds move across a vast sky. There are mountains on the horizon.
And a feather floats in the air as I pray! I remember….
For the first seven years of my kids’ lives, whenever they needed a boost in confidence, I would sneak in their bedrooms late at night to leave a white feather at the end of the beds. They would come running out to the kitchen in the morning, “Mommy, Mommy! The angels left a feather for me!”
“Oh how beautiful! What a special present it is! What do you think your angels were trying to say by leaving this?” I would ask. They collected quite a few of these treasures and grew strong in feeling they had help close at hand!
Let’s take time on Sept. 29 to remember both our Guardian Angels and the Big 3.
St. Michael is the powerhouse who helps guard against the onslaughts of the devil. The Angel Gabriel is the primary messenger in the Bible and we can ask him for life direction! And Angel Raphael’s name means “God has healed.” So the big three cover a lot of basic concerns!
One way we like to celebrate the angels is to make “angel food cake” or the opposite–devil’s food cake. We taste deviled eggs on this day. And we try to have a table decorated with white and feathers and angel sculptures!
–Judith Costello. Judith is the mother of two kids. She and her family live on a small farm they call “Sagging Acres” in rural New Mexico. Judith writes for national and regional magazines. She is a catechist, artist and a Secular Carmelite (OCDS).
(P.S.—The angels sometimes need help from parents. White feathers can be purchased at hobby and craft stores.)
This is the Prayer to St. Michael:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.