Thought of the day
Monday, September 29, 2014

Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael, archangels - Feast

Angels ascending and descending

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church 
11th Sermon on Psalm 90[91] « Qui habitat » 6, 10-11
Angels ascending and descending

« You will see angels ascending and descending above the Son of Man. » They ascend for themselves, they descend for us or, rather, they descend with us. Those blessed spirits ascend by means of the contemplation of God and descend to take care of us and keep us in all our ways (Ps 90[91],11). They ascend to God so as to enjoy his presence; they descend to us in obedience to his commands for he has commanded them to take care of us. However, in descending to us they are not deprived of the glory that is their happiness; they always see the Father’s face…

When they ascend to the contemplation of God they are seeking that truth by which, desiring, they are filled and which, possessing, they still desire. When they descend, they exercise mercy towards us since they keep us in all our ways. For those blessed spirits are God’s ministers sent to us to come to our aid (cf. Heb 1,14). And in this mission, it is not to God they render service but to us. In this they imitate the humility of the Son of God who did not come to be served but to serve and who lived amongst his disciples as though he had been their servant (Mt 20,28)…

God commanded his angels, not to draw you away from your path but to guard you carefully in it and lead you in God’s paths, those they follow themselves. How can that be, you ask? Certainly, the angels act in all purity, for love alone, but you, held back and chastened by the needs of your condition, at least lower yourself, condescend to your neighbor by giving an example of mercy towards him. Then, still in imitation of the angels, lift up your desire and, with all the fervor of your heart, strive to ascend to eternal truth.

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