Monday, September 28, 2015

You Will See Heaven Opened

By Melanie Rigney

War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. (Revelation 12:7-9)

In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.  (Psalm 138:1)

(Jesus said to Nathanael:) “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)

The Three Archangels,
Marco d'Oggiono [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. (Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel)

And then, it was … done. Or was it?

Pope Francis boarded Shepherd One Sunday night and headed back to the Vatican with thousands of miles under his belt after his visits to Cuba and the United States. Thousands were blessed by small-group meetings with him at prisons, at shelters, and elsewhere. Millions attended large events or stood and cheered as the Popemobile drove by, with Francis smiling, always smiling, and waving and giving blessings. Millions more were touched virtually via TV, radio, newspaper, or social media. But today is Tuesday, and the pope is taking a day of rest at home.

And then it was … done. Or was it?

This trip will have been a complete failure if we all return to our daily lives, unchanged by Francis’s reminders about what Jesus desires from us:  Repairing rifts in our families and communities. Ministering to our brothers and sisters in need. Honoring and defending life at all stages, starting from the moment of conception. Protecting the environment in the largest sense of the word. Offering more mercy and joy to all we encounter, every day.

In attempting to live a more Christ-centric life, we will encounter evil every day, just as we always have. Evil encourages us to put up walls around our hearts and souls. Evil whispers, “Well done,” when we waste money, gasoline, or time on activities that benefit only ourselves, and perhaps not even ourselves in the long run. Evil tells us the status quo is just fine, that there’s no need to change.
Pope Francis reminds us in poignant, simple words and in his actions that the status quo won’t work if we wish to draw nearer to the Lord. In the moment, when we saw that smile, that hand, and heard that beautiful, reasoned voice, we likely made some private vows of change, of service, of harmony. Now it’s time to suit up and show evil we were serious about those vows. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Write down one action you will take as a result of Francis’s words. Keep it in your billfold or other place where you will see it every day. Pray for progress. Pray for peace in the world and in your soul.

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