What Is An Angel?August 26, 2016
We’ve all seen angels portrayed as beautiful beings with long curls, flowing robes and gleaming white wings. They appear in stained glass windows and statues, or pose gracefully on holiday cards. Angels even show up on TV and in movies sometimes.
The more famous angels are often depicted holding objects symbolizing their special missions. Archangel Michael wears armor and brandishes a flaming sword. Archangel Gabriel regularly carries a trumpet. Archangel Raphael is frequently portrayed with a medical caduceus to symbolize his healing talents. Archangel Uriel is often laden with a thick book to represent his wisdom. All four are widely recognized around the world, each neatly categorized in his own tidy little box.
But what if things are more interesting than that?
Many people claim to have been visited by angels, but their celestial visitors didn’t always look like a Renaissance painting. Witnesses have reported seeing what they believed were angels resembling balls of radiant light, seemingly ordinary human beings, or even animals. They come, they do something miraculous, and they vanish.
The word “angel” derives from the Greek world “angelos,” which simply means “messenger.” In other words, putting aside the hand props and feathers, an angel is a messenger from the Divine, bringing hope and help when we need it most. While some messages may come more easily from one angel than another – Archangel Michael’s assurance that Heaven protects us is so clearly his – it’s hard to believe that any angel could possibly be limited by human ideas of what his or her message should be.
To me, the angels are Heaven’s ambassadors, reaching out to us with encouragement, guidance and love. I tried to convey that belief in Dancing at Angel Abbey. The world can feel like a bleak and terrifying place, but things seem brighter if you allow for the possibility that a loving Creator is keeping track of things and sending messengers now and then to keep us all on track.
Maybe you see angels, maybe you don’t, and perhaps they’re more symbolic than real. But they come with wisdom and, when you see one in art or in life, it’s a good idea to pay attention. You might just experience a miracle.
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