Why Not An Angel?

September 29, 2017
Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
The Gospel Today
John 1:47-51

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Reflection (Sem. Maximilian B. Estayo)

“There is no duplicity in him.”

Angels are higher beings more simple in composition than humans (spirits versus spirit and matter). By the very nature of their being, they are nearer to God, the most simple of all, as they in fact dwell with Him in the heavens.

I can think of another conclusion: the more a being is nearer to God, the more he is authentic. St. Faustina, who began the devotion to Jesus the Divine Mercy, had an uncanny ability to detect God’s presence in a person – I guess this is natural for most saints. And Jesus Himself, on seeing Nathanael at once declared that the latter was a genuine Israelite. The Lord knew by one quick look, even from afar.

Indeed, it is a quality of holiness. And it is present in the angels – they who behold the face of God daily. In my own experience, whenever I make a good deed to a friend, I would receive a compliment, “you are such an angel.” I would squirm at it. I have no wings. No, I am just expected to be charitable to my neighbor.

However, now I feel it is okay to acknowledge the courtesy. It is not because it flatters me, but because it encourages me to do more and do better. In fact, as a Christian, my vocation is to keep on sowing good deeds, to enter into a closer union with God and to grow in holiness. I will not have the composition of the angels but it is a state proper to my being as a child of God. Which makes me more authentic.

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