Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Today was an amazing day in Rome! After breakfast we arrived in St. Peter’s square in time for the Pope’s Mass celebrating grandparents. We went expecting to see Pope Francis up in the window for the Angelus prayer. We were blessed to be present for the Mass and then he drove right by us in the Pope-mobile. He was ten feet away and everyone in the group was very excited. I don’t have the photos yet, but hopefully I can post one tomorrow.
After that we ate a quick lunch and then went for a tour of St. Mary Major, built around 430 AD. It is one of the four major basilicas in Rome; the first church in the world dedicated to the Blessed Mother. This is the first church Pope Francis went to after his election to the papacy showing his strong devotion to Mary.
Then we had a guided bus tour around the city of Rome. I have been here several times but I never get tired of the history, the beauty and the churches! Then we went to the North American College for Mass with the seminarians and all the pilgrims who have come to Rome for the diaconate ordination on Thursday. It was a very prayerful experience and many in our group commented on the beauty of the music – hearing so many men sing from the heart is very moving.
We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant and then prayed a walking rosary back to the hotel. The weather has been ideal. Tomorrow we will have tours of the Scavi, Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. More news to follow…
Today the Church honors the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The word “angel” simply means “messenger”. And an archangel is an angel of high rank. Throughout the Old and New Testament, God sends angels to His people with messages.
Of course, the angel of the Lord declared unto Mary that she would conceive and bear a son and name him “Emmanuel” (God is with us). The angel also delivered a message to Joseph at the same time that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit and that Joseph should not turn her away. The angels also guided the shepherds to Bethlehem to find the infant Jesus. Angels ministered to Christ after his temptation in the wilderness. An angel visited Christ in His agony. Angels appeared at the tomb of the risen Christ. And angels freed Peter and Paul from prison.
Angels do not have bodies, but are spiritual beings. They sing a continuous hymn of praise to the Lord in heaven. And they bring the Good News of the Lord to His people. Angels are simply another way that the Lord expresses His love to us, His beloved.
During the Mass we sing the “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of Hosts…” which comes from the book of Revelation. This is the song that the angels are constantly singing in praise and honor of our Lord. It is during the liturgy (Mass) that we participate in the heavenly liturgy. We move outside of time and space and are taken up into heaven. We are at Calvary and remember the Lord’s passion and death, while at the same time, we are in heaven singing the praises of the risen Lord, who has conquered death for all eternity. Please read Scott Hahn’s book “The Lamb’s Supper”. You will never attend Mass again the same way. You will never think Mass is boring after reading this book. When you truly understand what is happening at Mass, your minds will be raised to God in heaven with all of the angels and saints.
Lord, we give you thanks and praise today for all of your angels, especially Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. We thank you for loving us in good times and bad. Help us to be open to your Word and the messages of your angels when you speak to us through them. And may we one day, with all of the angels and saints in heaven, give you due praise, honor and glory, forever and ever. Amen.
God bless you,
Fr. Burke Masters