Saturday, October 10, 2009

Modern-day angels can be found all around us

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By Father Michael Tix, St. John the Baptist parish, Savage

Last week I went to get my hair cut at a local salon. I was waiting for the person who has cut my hair for years when I saw someone in the salon who had on a white shirt and on the back of the shirt were imprinted silver wings. It was a simple enough occasion, but I was left to think about angels.

When we think about angels it is easy for us to imagine things like wings, being dressed in white, and a halo encircling the angel’s head. We might call these the stereotypes of angels that are frequently portrayed often in pictures, as well as the movies.

In the realm of church we talk about different kinds of angels. The more prominent we call archangels and what distinguishes them from the others is that besides being named in the scriptures, they bring a message of salvation to earth. Likely the most common is the archangel Gabriel, who comes to Mary with the news that she would be the Mother of God. Other archangels the church recognizes as Raphael and Michael. We also talk about guardian angels, these are not necessarily named, but they are the ones we those angels who watch over and protect us. Regardless of being an archangel or a guardian angel, the common interest they share is bringing a message of God’s love.

In the last week there was a wide range of sporting events that have taken place. Among them is the Twin Cities Marathon. Prior to the annual 26 mile race, now in its 20th year, I was reading a newspaper story about a woman from rural Minnesota. As I understand the story, this woman felt a call deep within herself to reach out to the people of Haiti. In spite of the violence that plagues Haiti, this woman wanted to reach out to the children of Haiti where many not only experience malnutrition, but many die of starvation.

The story from the Minneapolis paper told how this woman with Minnesota roots was going to participate in the Twin Cities Marathon. By participating, she also hoped to raise money that would be sent to Haiti to help make the lives of at least some children better than what might be their daily experience of poverty. The story told that people’s response to the woman’s initiative was much more than she ever imagined as thousands of dollars more than her goal were donated.

Still, the actions of the woman from rural Minnesota were about something much more than money. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of poor children in a country often forgotten. We might easily say that her actions reflect a modern-day angel in our midst. None of the pictures in the paper showed any of the classic stereotypes we associate with angels, but there is no doubt that like angels, she was bringing a message of God’s love to others, and in this case, likely complete and total strangers.

All of this raises a very real question for us. It asks us to stop and think about the message we bring to others. Is it a message of God’s love, and something readily apparent by our care and compassion or is it something different and less than goodness. Sometimes we can think about angels as either myth or storybook fiction. Angels are real, and they include you and me. They come to us often in the least expected places. Who would think that you might see one at a hair salon, but if I can see one at a hair salon where else might one be found? Angels can be found anywhere, because among that heavenly host is you and me. Each with our own individual gifts and talents, we are called to be angels who bring a message of God’s love to our world this day! The Savage Pacer [Why am I thinking of Dan Patch?]

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