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A Season of Angels by Jan Davis, DMin, ObOSB

Jan Davis April 2023 Reflection GraphicLonger days, leafing trees, and blooming wildflowers are convincing signs that Spring is upon us. Easter baskets and bunnies have been on the store shelves since Valentines Day. Easter gatherings are being planned. It marks the end of Lent. We might be tempted to skirt through Holy Week, one of the most sacred times of the year, the Passion of Jesus Christ.

The six weeks of Lent we recall the days Jesus spent in the wilderness, his temptations in the desert, and ending with his agony in the Garden and his crucifixion. Many Christians observe these six weeks as a time for personal reflection, self-denial, penance, moderation, and fasting.

We are encouraged to reflect on our own anguish side-by-side with the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus’s torture and death. Some Christians follow the “Way of the Cross” and recall, metaphorically, memories in their lives of being condemned, scourged, or even looking upon a precious child who is about to die. The sense of being in a tomb often arises while contemplating the passage from Crucifixion to Resurrection.

In all of this, let us keep in mind the presence of angels in Jesus’s life, from beginning to the end, who gave him strength. His life was begun with the announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Savior. After Satan’s temptations of Jesus in the desert, “Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.” (Matt 4:11) In the Garden of Gethsemane: “An angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.” (Luke 24:4-6). Finally, at Easter dawn, an angel descended from heaven, rolled back the tomb stone, and announced that Christ had been raised! (Matt 28: 1-10)

In the New Testament are multiple stories of angels in the life of Jesus and his friends, bringing good news, messages, protection, reassurance and strength. May we offer ourselves to God, strengthened by an angel, as Mary did with her “Fiat” – “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38b) and Jesus’s “Fiat” – “Not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42b).

During Holy Week and the Easter Season we might notice the presence of angels in our lives, seen and unseen, bidden or unbidden, bringing strength to our suffering along with the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday. Behold, angels come. Alleluia!

“Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb…. An angel of the Lord descended from Heaven, approached, rolled back the stone and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was white as snow…. Then the angel said to the women, I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” (Matt. 28:1-10)

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