In the latest installment of his series “From the Chapel,” OSV publisher Scott Richert writes…
From the Chapel — March 26: Be at my side
“From the Chapel” is a series of short, daily reflections on life and faith in a time of uncertainty. As people across the world cope with the effects of the coronavirus — including the social isolation necessary to combat its spread — these reflections remind us of the hope that lies at the heart of the Gospel.
In the Eastern Church, Catholic and Orthodox, the day after a major feast day is itself a special one. Known as the “leave-taking” of the feast, this day celebrates one or more of the saints who were involved in the event that the feast celebrates.
Thus March 26, the Leave-Taking of the Annunciation, is dedicated to the Archangel Gabriel, the messenger who announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that God had chosen her to bear his son. We’re used to Gabriel popping up every once in a while, and the Archangel Michael, too, though I suspect most of us would be hard-pressed to name where the Archangel Raphael appears in the Bible. (Hint: He can be found in a book of the Old Testament that doesn’t appear in Protestant Bibles, as well as, by tradition, in one book of the New Testament, where he isn’t named but his presence is felt.)
We know that the three named archangels aren’t the only ones, and that the ranks of the angels are greater than the stars in the sky. Each of us, of course, has a guardian angel who is our constant companion and guide. In this time of social distancing and self-quarantine, our guardian angel, thankfully, does not need to maintain a safe distance.
And that makes this as good a time as ever to cultivate a relationship with our guardian angel, asking him not only for physical protection but for protection from the spiritual dangers that beset us during times of uncertainty and isolation. Chief among those is fear — fear for ourselves, fear for others, fear for the future.
When Mary was troubled by his words, Gabriel urged her not to be afraid. Our guardian angels do the same, if we have ears to hear. Like St. Michael, they are warriors, battling the spiritual forces that try to sow doubts in our minds and to make us wonder where God is in all of this. Like the Blessed Virgin, we should be grateful for their guidance and confident in the protection that they provide for us.
Scott P. Richert is publisher for OSV.