Sunday, February 24, 2013

FEAST OF ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS & BANANA PUDDING


Council of Seven Holy Archangels, Russian Icon

The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, also known as Michaelmas, is celebrated on September 29 (November 8 in Eastern Orthodoxy). The archangels and angels are honored in the Anglican, Episcopal, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic Churches, as well as in Islam and Judaism.
……………………………………………………………...........

Because there are so many differing traditions in the honoring of angels, I’ll answer some of my own questions about angels in general before continuing on to my study of the Archangels.

Are angels real?

Yes. They have prominent roles in the Holy Bible and other sacred texts. Angels are omnipresent (of God and present everywhere at the same time), genderless beings.

Are angels saints?

Saints are humans who’ve died and now reside in heaven with God. Angels are not, and were not, ever human. Although, angels sometimes take on human appearances and they also influence humans in doing angelic works. We refer to the main four archangels as St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and St. Uriel, out of respect, much like some children refer to beloved adult friends as aunts or uncles.

Is belief in angels silly or even bad?

Although I've been a subscriber of Angels-on-Earth Magazine from its inception, and have always believed in angels, I mostly kept quiet about it due to fear of the cynical negative judgement from others. Also, I have a vague memory of learning something about angels and evil practices. So on the one hand I feared being mocked for childlike naiveté, and on the other hand I feared that dabbling with direct angelic communication was at the very least not an acceptable Christian practice. 


I didn't fully recognize these fears until I began my research for this post. I discovered that the names of the archangels are used in Occult and other dark practices. Aha!


Make sure you don’t engage in dark practices involving lower energies. You can tell if what you’re doing is dark or involves a lower energy by heeding your intuition or the physical feeling in your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. You can also pray for protection from and clearing out of lower energies. (See prayer to St. Michael for spiritual protection below.)

Further, I’ve learned that God relies on the angels to carry out his work with us. So if you pray to God directly or to an angel or saint to intercede on your behalf, the angels will intervene for you through God’s love, will, and bright holy light.

For example,

Dear Lord, please protect me during my morning commute. Amen.

Or

Dear St. Michael, please use your shield to protect me, my car, and everyone around me as I drive to work this morning. Amen.

This is exactly the same prayer because angels are the “worker bees” of God. Everything the angels do comes directly from God.

Why did I research the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels?

Recently, a friend gave me a gift of a professional aura reading. Aura is the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing or place. In this case, the aura reader/spiritual coach read my aura using a biofeedback monitor to translate my electrical pulse points into corresponding colors of light.

During this process, I learned that Archangel Uriel was in contact with me and sending me messages related to using my full intellect and letting go of fearing others’ opinions of me. Although, I had previously believed that I was receiving answers to prayers from the Blessed Virgin Mary, I was open to this possibility.

In fact, I had an epiphany – last year during a challenging period of writer’s block, I prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for me with God and show me my writing path. I awoke one morning with the idea for a blog called Saints and Recipes. This message was actually delivered to me by St. Uriel who intervened between God and me upon the intercession by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I know that this seems more complicated than it is. One can simply pray to God and receive an answer to that prayer without having to understand how it was carried out. Personally, I want to recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate all the holy beings working on my behalf.
.………………………………………………………………………

Ancient Hebrew Scriptures mention Messengers of God, heavenly beings resembling human or taking on human appearance. Messenger in Hebrew is “Malach” and in Greek “Angelos.”

The Roman Catholic Church officially venerates only Archangels Michael and Gabriel as saints because they are the only ones mentioned by name in the Gospels. However, local or folk catholic tradition venerates the same four honored in the Anglican and Episcopal Churches: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and St. Uriel.

Other sacred texts list seven archangels whom are honored in other Churches. The list of the names for the next three varies according to text and Church:

Selaphiel, Jesudiel, Barachiel

Raguel, Zerachiel, Ramiel

Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel

Another complication is that some on the list are different versions of the same name. So, even though I trust that there are even more archangels than the ones named above, I will focus this post only on the four main ones.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him. 
                                                                        Colossians 1:15-16

Later, a follower of Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite, a fifth-century Syrian monk, wrote that there were nine choirs or order of angels separated into three triads:

Seraphim – highest order, closest to God, pure light

Cherubim – second highest order, pure love, portrayed as chubby children with wings

Thrones – act as bridge between spiritual and material, ensuring fairness and justice

Dominions – overseers or managers carrying out God’s will

Virtues – responsible for the physical universe including the sun, moon, stars, Earth and all the planets

Powers – purifiers of lower energies

Principalities – responsible for all of Earth, especially the nations and cities, strive for God’s will of peace on Earth

Archangels – Overseers of human kind, high ranking but also serve as guardian angels. Each one represents a particular aspect of God.

Guardian Angels – assigned to individual humans for life

Although I know Clarence, George Bailey’s Guardian Angel, so well from repeated viewings of the movie IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, I found no proof that he was anything more than a wonderful character in a work of fiction. However, MICHAEL portrayed by John Travolta in a 1997 movie is not only real, but he is the most powerful of all archangels.


Archangel Michael, Guido Reni 1575-1642

St. Michael the Archangel is the leader of the sacred warriors. Michael means “who is like God” in Hebrew.

We learn in Daniel 12:1, At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.”

And in Revelations 12:7, “Then the war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.”

The dragon is the fallen angel known as Lucifer, Satan, or the devil and his followers. Of course, Michael and his armies slew the dragon. But the battle continues on an individual basis.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is strongly devoted to the angels and celebrates many angelic feasts throughout the year. Archangel Michael is named in many hymns and prayers and appears accompanying Christ in their icons.

The Roman Catholic Church refers to Archangel Michael as a saint -- veneration of him is not required but encouraged as a path to increase spiritual strength against evil. He’s considered the Patron Saint of Protection and protectors such as police, military, paramedics, firemen and security officers. St. Michael has four main Roman Catholic roles:  Supreme Enemy of Satan and the Fallen Angels, Christian Angel of Death, giving each soul a chance to redeem itself, Weigher of Souls on Judgment Day, and Guardian of the Roman Catholic Church.

A common Catholic prayer to St. Michael:

St. Michael the Archangel
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness,
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of heavenly host,
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.

The Anglican churches are catholic and follow these same beliefs and practices. Over time, English, Irish, and Welsh communities created secular practices in honor of the feast day of St. Michael which they call Michaelmas. On this day, accounts are settled and local elections held. The traditional feast consisted of a harvest goose and St. Michael's Bannock, a big scone cooked on a griddle. 

Michaelmas is the name of the autumn term at English and Irish universities and one of four legal terms during the year in Wales and England.

A general prayer to Archangel Michael:

Dear Archangel Michael, thank you for protecting me and my loved ones. Thank you for watching over us, our homes, and our vehicles. Thank you for giving me courage and confidence to move forward with my Divine life purpose.
                                                                            Doreen Virtue

St. Michael’s specialties are:

        Protection:
                  In vehicles
                  Of belongings
                  Spiritual
                  Job reputation

        Life-purpose guidance
        Repairing necessary items
        Clearing and shielding

A prayer for spiritual protection:

Dear Archangel Michael, please surround me, my loved ones, and my home with your royal purple light to dissipate and ward off any lower energies. Please guide me clearly so that I may only interact with people who are living in truth and integrity.                                                                        
                                                           Doreen Virtue

St. Michael is associated with autumn, his halo or energy color is royal purple or blue with golden light, and his crystal/gemstone is sugilite.

…………………………………………………………………

Annunciation, Sandro Botticelli, 1445-1510

St. Gabriel is the Patron Saint of Messengers. Gabriel means “God is my Champion” or “Strength of God.” Gabriel is particularly tasked with delivering messages from God to humans as seen in the Gospel:

Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and gripped with fear. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. . . .  Luke 1:11-13

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I’ve been sent to speak to you and tell you this good news.”  
                                                                  Luke 1:18-19

Also in Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel announced the conception of Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation

Although referred to as “he” in the Gospels, Gabriel is associated with pregnancy, childbirth and divine communication, and is therefore shown in most artwork as a feminine form. Although all angels are genderless beings, Gabriel has a strong, nurturing, feminine energy.

A general prayer to St. Gabriel:

Dear Archangel Gabriel, thank you for giving me clear messages about [issue at hand] and for guiding and supporting me to be a clear messenger to help others, as you do. Amen.                                                                          
                                          Doreen Virtue


St. Gabriel’s specialties are:

Messenger/communication
Nurturing children
All aspects of parenting including conception, adoption, and birth
Life purpose involving children
Clear messages
Helping other messengers such as teachers, writers, actors, and artists

St. Gabriel is associated with winter, her halo or energy color is copper and her crystal/gemstone is copper.

…………………………………………………………


Arcangel San Rafael, Bartolomé Roman, 1587-1647

St. Raphael’s name means “God heals.”  He appears in the Apocrypha Book of Tobit (Greek) or Tobias (Latin) which is considered canonical, an additional part of the Holy Bible:

At that time, the prayers of both were heard in the sight of the glory of the most high God. And the holy angel of the Lord, Raphael, was sent to heal them both, whose prayers at one time were rehearsed in the sight of the Lord.                                                             Book of Tobit 3:24-25                

I wholeheartedly recommend the reading of the Book of Tobit (Tobias) in which St. Raphael plays such a prominent role. It's got demons, bird droppings, dead husbands, faithful friends, matchmaking, fish guts, miracles, and true love.

A general request for healing prayer:

Dear Archangel Raphael, thank you for infusing me and my loved ones with your healing light of God’s pure love.  
                                                 Doreen Virtue

St. Raphael’s specialties are:

Healing of people and animals
Guiding healers in their education and practice
Guidance and protection of travelers
Connection with soul mate

Many times the archangels work together. For instance, St. Raphael and St. Michael often work together to clear away fear and stress both of which can greatly affect a person’s health.

St. Raphael is associated with spring, his halo or energy color is emerald green, and his crystal/gemstone is emerald or malachite.
……………………………………………………………………


Mosaic of St. Uriel in St. John’s Church, Boreham, Wiltshire
James Powell and Sons of the White Friars Foundry, 1888

St. Uriel’s name means “God is my light.” He is often shown in artwork surrounded by sunlight or holding the fire of God in one hand, which shows openness to receiving intense divine light; and a book or scroll in the other hand, which shows his talent for interpretation. He’s associated with spiritual awakenings such as those experienced by the apostles on Pentecost.

He appears in the Apocrypha section of the Holy Bible, II Esdras, when Ezra is perplexed about the problem of evil and ways of God:

Then the angel that had been sent to me, whose name was Uriel, answered.
                                                                       II Esdras 4:1

In other sacred, but not canonical texts, Uriel rescues Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist and his mother, Elizabeth, from the Massacre of the Holy Innocents, and brings them to the Holy Family in Egypt.

The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t officially recognize St. Uriel as a saint because he isn't named in the Gospels. But at an unofficial local level and among other churches, St. Uriel is the Patron Saint of the Sacraments of Confirmation.


Oh holy Saint Uriel, intercede for us that our hearts may burn with the fire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Assist us in cooperating with the graces of our confirmation that the gifts of the Holy Spirit may bear fruit in our souls. Obtain for us the grace to use the sword of truth to pare away all that is not in conformity to the most adorable will of God in our lives that we may fully participate in the army of the Church. 

General prayer to St. Uriel:

Archangel Uriel, thank you for giving me information, ideas, and insights about [topic you want to know more about].”                               
                                                                                                                                                                          Doreen Virtue

St. Uriel’s specialties are:

Intellectual understanding
Conversations
Ideas, insights, epiphanies
Studying, school, test taking
Writing and speaking

St. Uriel is associated with summer and bright sunlight, his halo or energy color is yellow and his crystal/gemstone amber.

Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
                                Collect, HOLY WOMEN, HOLY MEN: CELEBRATING THE SAINTS


Sources:

Archangels 101: How to Connect Closely with Archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Others for Healing, Protection, and Guidance by Doreen Virtue
Holy Bible: New International Version
.........................................................................................

There are more archangels to recognize, study and communicate with, but I’m going to stop here because I have a banana pudding to make. It’ll only be the second one I’ve ever made even though I’ve lived in the south (U.S.) almost 20 years. I enjoy eating it, but I’ve never made it as it’s never occurred to me to do so until I read Banana Pudding, an article in Our State Magazine.

The basic premise of the article is that no matter how one prepares banana pudding, whether assembled from store-bought components or completely homemade, it’s delicious, comforting, and familiar to southern folk and perfect for any occasion.

As I read, I thought, hmmm all those different types of banana puddings, for all those different types of occasions -- sounds a lot like angels. I also thought that anyone who brings a comforting banana pudding to a family suffering a death or illness can definitely be considered an angel.

And then I read this amazing line, “For five bucks, you can make a bowl of banana pudding that would cause angels to weep.”


REAL BANANA PUDDING
Southern Living Magazine




Ingredients:

½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups, milk
4 large eggs, separated*
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups vanilla wafers
4 ripe bananas
3 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together sugar mixture, milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium-size heavy saucepan until well blended. Cover over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 or 8 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.

2. Layer half of vanilla wafers in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with half of banana slices and half of pudding. Repeat procedure with remaining wafers, banana slices, and pudding.

3. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar, beating until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pudding, sealing to edge of dish.

4. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool 30 minutes, and serve warm, or chill an additional hour, and serve cold.

*Separate egg yolk from egg white by first cracking the egg, then pour the yolk back and forth between the two egg shells allowing the egg white to slip out into a bowl. Place egg yolk in a separate bowl. Repeat. Be very careful NOT to get any egg yolk in the bowl of egg whites as this will prevent the meringue from forming.

Alternatively, you can assemble a banana pudding with store-bought vanilla (never banana-flavored) pudding and whipped topping.

Enjoy!    


My first homemade batch was a delicious success even though I uncovered in myself a vague fear of meringue making that went all the way back to high school home economics class, in which the teacher described all the ways meringue could go wrong. I also remember that my mom and dad, professional bakers, never baked with meringue either. My mom recently explained that it was because she could never figure out how to do it right.

Wow.

Open up to angelic communications and guidance and it just may be that you, too, will overcome fears, hidden or otherwise, and find the strength to tackle every challenge along your sacred spiritual path in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  

BONUS MATERIAL:

Amber, Copper, Sugilite, Malachite

2 comments:

Rebecca Petruck said...

The nine orders of angels is very intriguing. Is there a book you recommend most for further reading? Thanks for writing about angels--I really loved this topic.

Maria Nolletti Ross said...

Yes! I'd recommend PARADISE LOST by John Milton -- epic battle between all the angels.