This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels and its relevance to today


Yesterday was what used to be called Michaelmas or the Feast of St. Michael.  The modern calender includes the other archangels, especially Raphael and Gabriel, but there are also lesser known angels like Uriel, the Angel of Death (a role some ascribe to Michael).

To understand the legend of St. Michael, you must understand the name.  Modern renderings are lazy, abbreviating it to God-like, which is exactly the opposite of its intended meaning.  In reality, Michael is correcting rendered as the question "Who is like to God?"  Indeed, it is almost a taunt because the answer is no one.  It was first asked, presumably by Michael, of the highest angel among all angels, Lucifer, when he believed his worship at the throne of God was more worthy than the sacrifice of the God-man, Jesus.  The asking of this question had Lucifer, and all his supporters, tossed from the Heavens because they could not bear the answer that they were not.  They could literally not face God with the knowledge of their presumption.

This is an important question for us today as well.  It affects our worship, our morality and our charity.

Our worship is for us, not for God.  Our best efforts are but a reflection of God's glory and are for us to allow God to come for us - we cannot make the journey to God.  God accepts our worship because He loves us, not because it is essential to Him.  Indeed, our worship (especially the singing in most parishes) is art on God's fridge.  The worship of the angels is simply a better brand of refrigerator art when compared to the ultimate Harmony of the Blessed Trinity.  We must keep this in mind whenever we attempt spiritual works, such as prayer and fasting (for example, the 40 Days for Life).

Our morality, likewise, is for our benefit - not to meet some divine ideal.  God is perfect and has no need of morality or of moral behavior on our part.  Rather, all moral behavior is designed to make us happy in our humanity and any moral teaching that does not lead us to that end is not from God.  This is why the remarks of then Cardinal Ratzinger about the disordered nature of homosexuality are so off the beam.  For those who were born gay, the best way for them to be is gay.  They are wonderfully made and our votes in Maryland in support of their right to marriage should reflect that, as the alternative is to say that fidelity and promiscuity are the same thing - an obvious lie.

Finally, there are the issues of charity and justice.  We do not do charity because we are trying to earn points with God.  Instead, we do so because we are already in God and God is in us (even the unbaptized) and our works are a reflection of the love that comes from the Creator. God uses us to help in His work, but it is not our work that we are doing, so we have nothing to boast of.  That being said, we need to look for politicians to vote for who will create a charitable society, rather than one that is based on self-reliance, which has its root in hubris and the sin of Lucifer.  We always need to ask ourselves, "Who is like to God?" and the answer is still the same.  Nobody.  Still, I would not vote for a lifetime supporter of Ayn Rand, even if he is Catholic.

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