In the Presence of the Angels

     Sunday Mass is my most favorite activity I partake in every week. It’s not simply because I get to rest on Sundays, see friends from the Parish, or get some delicious donuts in the Hospitality Center after Mass every now and then. I love it so much because my life’s purpose is fulfilled every time I come to Mass. Being human, I am made to worship God with every word, thought, or action I choose in this life. I am made to Praise the Father with the Son by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and the Mass is essentially this act of Praise and Love within the Trinity. There is no other activity in which I find so much peace and fulfillment because the Mass is primarily an act of sacrifice and praise within the life of the Trinity! Within the Mass itself, Heaven and Earth meet and for a brief moment within our temporal existence we are given the grace and ability to praise God with the angels and saints in Heaven. But, how is this possible? And why does it happen only in Mass?

 

     That which makes us fit to praise God in Heaven is none other than God Himself in the Most Holy Eucharist. In the Eucharist, God is really and truly present with us in a unique and singular way; it is the closest we can be to God while still living on this Earth. And since Heaven is complete unity and solidarity with God in the Mystical Body of Christ with all the angels and saints, then when we receive the Eucharist (a.k.a. the Mystical Body of Christ) we become one with all the angels and saints in praising God in Heaven. For a brief and beautiful moment, we reach our end in Heaven, we are reconciled to the One whom we Love, and our hearts grow more hungry for the taste of Heaven. The Eucharist does not satiate our hunger for God, it increases and sustains our hunger for God!

 

       As the psalmist himself desires to do, we truly get to praise God “in the presence of the angels” (Psalm 138:1). The reason we have stained glass windows with depictions of the angels and the saints is not merely to communicate the stories of salvation history to those who cannot read or hear Scripture. These representations are signs of the reality that becomes present at every single Celebration of the Mass. Just as the stained glass windows are placed on the sides of the Church parallel to the pews, so too are the angels and saints walking with us towards Heaven in every Mass! The saints do not rest when they arrive in Heaven; they are too restless to complete the numbering up of God’s people before taking complete rest in God. As St. Therese of Lisieux once said, “When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.” Just as a good friend wants to see us complete the goals we set in life, so too do the saints want to see us complete our race towards the Heavenly Kingdom. We do not venerate the saints because they have accomplished something. We venerate them because they help us to complete our own journey towards unification with God in Heaven. So, the next time you are in Mass, remember that you enter into a liminal space between Heaven and Earth and see if you can hear the rush of angels’ wings as you Praise our Loving Father. Amen.

 

 

Here’s a copy of the psalm from Last Sunday:

 

R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,

            for you have heard the words of my mouth;

in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;

            I will worship at your holy temple

and give thanks to your name.

R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Because of your kindness and your truth;

            for you have made great above all things

            your name and your promise.

When I called, you answered me;

            you built up strength within me.

R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD,

            when they hear the words of your mouth;

and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD:

            “Great is the glory of the LORD.”

R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Your right hand saves me.

            The LORD will complete what he has done for me;

your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;

            forsake not the work of your hands.

R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

 


 

Jameson Labadie

 

This 7th day of February - Year of Our Lord 2022

 

Feast of Blessed Eugénie Smet

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