I wrote last year on the observation that the Catholic Church seems to have put St. Michael in the cupboard along with the old cookie cutters and other archangels, while Satanism is becoming all the rage in our country. Thank goodness a growing number of Christians and their leaders are pretty sure angels and devils were just literary devices and myths fabricated by ancient humans who didn't have science!
The great warring angel has been sent to pasture by modernity, a war veteran retired from service, sent to the old angel's home. I'm sure the Satanic legions are fine with that development.
It took the most educated and scientifically sophisticated generation in history to miss what any other age of humanity could have seen a hundred miles away. Perhaps it's because we think we're better than them for not seeing it that we don't see the obvious. Everything in our world today suggests it's we who are the blind generation, and those ancients huddled around the fire pit and longhouse hearth were the ones with eyes.
For a bonus, here is the always informative Fish Eaters with a nice little write up on Michaelmas from that more Christian influenced world of old. Complete, of course, with some cultural trappings and even a few recipes!
A challenge in American Catholicism is the lack of a cohesive cultural experience. Different parishes have different emphases depending on which Old World area you hailed from. Trying to reintroduce some of these old customs feel awkward because they don't resonate naturally from lived experience, whereas their origins probably generated from natural milieus. (I'm sure you understand this feeling as a convert!) This came up recently with a friend as we were trying to determine how to bring Michaelmas observance into our households.ReplyDelete
As for St. Michael himself, we are daily pray-ers to him.
The Irish seemed to be the dominant group for a while. Their main flaw was their almost exclusive focus on trying to fit in with mainstream Culture rather than challenge itDelete
That rings true. Russell Shaw's book American Church was an interesting read to see how America influenced Catholicism more than Catholicism did America. I feel like I have an outside perspective somewhat as my parents both came off the boat as children - my Dad an old world Catholic still and my mom a nothing who became Methodist at 12 and Catholic at 20. They didn't have the same residual neuroses I saw my friends' families had about having to prove themselves more American than Catholic.Delete
That's actually an American Christianity problem across the board. The Orthodox have struggled with that for years. Protestantism makes it more obvious. But the big selling point of America - that famous melting pot - had implications, and one was a diminished cultural sameness. This became a major issue when, in the 20th Century, somehow we were told America has no right to have a culture at all (not it's the whole of Western Civilization has no right to exist as an actual civilization).Delete
Interesting comment on the Orthodox, given so many I've seen "flee" from corrupt Rome to the more "pure" Orthodox Church.Delete
You know, I'm not entirely sure that's accurate that a growing number of Christians and their leaders are seeing angels as literary devices. I think the evidence for that is the growing number of exorcists writing books and speaking out. I never saw anything about exorcists growing up and now I see things all the time. Our priest is an exorcist also. Oh my goodness, the stories he tells!ReplyDelete
Could simply be an increase in the need for exorcismsDelete
That makes me think of a story I saw a couple years ago, in Baltimore IIRC. It was a series of articles about an exorcist walking us through the process. What struck me was how the words used - and perhaps some of it was the reporters paraphrasing - sounded so 'secular'. To hear him talk, the Church assumes an atheist universe before it gets all religious. Could the problem be anything not spiritual - that is, medical, mental, etc. Not that this is in itself wrong. From the dawn of time people understood there were things that just happen, and don't need demons and spirits to explain things. But even once it went into the exorcism, the basic framing of everything still sounded more 'science' than spirit. Not that I think he should insist there are horns and pitchforks involved. But the whole sounded as if we assume there is nothing spiritual in most things, but on the rarest event there might be something spiritual going on. And even if that story was not accurately representing the exorcist's words, I can't help but feel it reflects our modern world's opinion, including among many believers.Delete
It could be partly temperament. My priest is a very German no nonsense guy but with a deep spiritual life. He though, by his own admission, has not much spiritual sensitivity in the sensible aspect. Fr. Ripperger says the same thing about himself. I think that's partially what enables them to walk into dealings with the supernatural directly. Also, the process described above seems to be for discernment for a major exorcism. Minor exorcisms can be done without all that, or even specific permission from the bishop. Our priest even does the minor exorcism at baptisms again.Delete
He prayed over me when I was pregnant once and was experiencing severe agitation. I asked him to after I thought to bless myself with holy water and experienced inexplicable immediate peace. Sometimes he uses blessed objects to discern the presence of an evil spirit. He keeps very active because it's not just possession, but oppression and obsession. He's very realistic that the Devil is not under every rock, just every other one ;)