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Posted by on Apr 4, 2016

Visited by an Angel – The Annunciation

Visited by an Angel – The Annunciation

The Annunciation - Henry Ossaw TannerGabriel’s visit to a very young woman in the small town of Nazareth was a momentous event, though mostly unnoticed at the time. Gabriel is the archangel tasked to serve as special messenger of God. On this visit, the message was actually a request: will you consent to become my mother? It wasn’t exactly phrased this way, according to the narrative we have from St. Luke, but in essence that was the question. Gabriel told Mary that she would bear a son who would be the Son of the Most High and would sit on the throne of his father David (as in King David), rule over the house of Jacob forever and have an unending kingdom. (Lk 1:26-38)

Now this would be challenging even to a married woman, but this young woman was not married. In her culture, having a child out of wedlock could result in death by stoning. At best, she would be shunned and excluded from polite society. Yet Mary had the courage to ask for more details about how such a thing could happen and to listen with deep faith to the response. Then she answered “yes,” Jesus was conceived, and God’s plan for salvation could go forward.

Christians have celebrated the Annunciation for centuries. Typically, the feast is scheduled for March 25, exactly nine months before the celebration of Christmas. However, in the West, when March 25 falls within Holy Week or the first week of Easter, the feast is moved to Monday following the Second Sunday of Easter (now known as Divine Mercy Sunday).

As adults we celebrate many events such as the Annunciation with prayer – Liturgy of the Hours, Mass, the Angelus, etc. However, for children, these ways of celebrating are not always experienced as much fun. So, with that in mind, I’d like to suggest an alternative way to celebrate: Make Angel cookies!

To make Angel cookies, take any recipe for a cookie that allows rolling out the dough and cutting out a cookie. (Even brownies could be used for making Angel Cookies if time is short.) Use an angel shaped cookie cutter to shape the cookies before baking. Be sure to decorate them with frosting/icing or with some  kind of “sprinkles” of colored sugar to make them festive. Then share them as part of a festive meal. Light a candle, have a special drink, use nicer dishes than normal, have a food that is a treat for your family — any or all of these things will make the day special for the children and family who share them.

As you share this day, keep your ears open for the voice of angels in your life. God’s messenger still comes, though perhaps not as momentously as in the visit to Mary. What is God saying to you and me today?

Peace.

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Posted by on Oct 2, 2007

Guardian Angels –

Guardian Angels –

October 2 is the feast of the Guardian Angels. Spirit messengers and agents of the Divine are found in many world religions that predate Christianity. Angels are also a big part of New Age spirituality.

Spirithome.com’s article on Why Angels? does a good job of reviewing traditional Christian views of angels and their place in the lives of Christians. (The site is an excellent information and inspiration resource. Be sure to check it out.)

If you want to review the traditional Catholic teaching on angels, take a look at Catholic Online. It can be a little technical but is also an excellent example of a highly rational post-Enlightenment type of theology.

Angels-Online is a site devoted to contemporary stories about people’s experiences of Angels. Some stories are better than others. However, they attest to the current fascination with Angels as a sign of God’s providence or as benevolent spirits in a world of “spirituality” without religion.

The persistence of Angels in people who adhere to religion or who embrace its early earth related forms is a sign of something deeper. People perceive activity in a realm beyond immediate physical reality. If we take a closer look at non-industrialized “primitive” people, as studied by anthropologists, we see that most everything in everyday life is explained in terms of spirits. This notion that the spiritual realm is the true realm is widespread throughout world religions, including Christianity.

The belief in Guardian Angels is a belief in God’s individual care and concern for all of us. For all of us post-moderns stuck in the here and now, Angels offer us a reminder. Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.

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