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Do you believe in angels? They certainly have figured prominently throughout humanity’s religious history.
In Judaism, the archangels Michael and Gabriel play significant roles in the Torah. The Mormon Church began under the direction of the angel Moroni, who showed young Joseph Smith in 1827 where the golden plates were buried in the mountains of New York State. In Christianity, the Archangel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary and predicts the birth of Jesus Christ. Later, in the Qur’an, that same Archangel Gabriel commanded Muhammad to read. Although illiterate and frightened, he did, changing the history of the planet even today.
The serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve took on the guise of a disgraced Archangel known more commonly for ages as Lucifer.
The Bible is replete with appearances of angels:
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. – Revelation 14:6.
Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. – Hebrews 13:2.
We humans can act as “angels” with or without knowing it. When someone does something nice for us, in our best interests rather than their own, they become like an angel.
This harks back to the very essence of “good” and “evil;” concepts as old as people and their relationships with each other. In the ancient religions, angels represented goodness, kindness and altruism; while creatures like Satan represented selfishness, mean-spiritedness and evil.
Who are your angels?
My wife Janet is my angel in this world, although I know many. She is my guardian angel, a concept facilitated in Catholicism and elsewhere, one who watches over me and my doings for my own good. My mother, 85, generous and kind, caring to a fault, sincere and concerned with her family’s welfare and even that of strangers, personifies a living angel despite minor flaws. When I sit outside on our patio on a breezy day enjoying the sun, I see the white-yellow cabbage butterflies flit about our gardens, and know that each one represents the spirit of my departed brother Stephen, watching over me, at least figuratively.
Angels appear in many shapes and guises, the shape of nature and the shape of man or woman or child, symbolizing all that we see as good, holy and loving in the world.
Another example: all the people in my life, too numerous to mention, who have helped me advance in my various endeavors or careers. I would not be where I am today without the help and assistance of hundreds, perhaps thousands of “angels” who have made my journey through life easier, happier and more fulfilling. Because of their help I am able to leave the devils great and small far behind me and am filled with confidence, hope and joy:
Rejoice, for the heavenly table is prepared for you.
Rejoice, for the angels of heaven are your assistants and helpers.
Rejoice, for the glance of the Blessed Beauty, Baha’u’llah, is directed upon you.
Rejoice, for Baha’u’llah is your Protector.
Rejoice, for the everlasting glory is destined for you.
When we do kind things, we’re angels, too, especially when we give of ourselves, our time, our money, and our energy to selflessly help others. Whether helping those who are in need and charities, relatives or our children, doing volunteer work in the community, serving as educators in schools or working hard in worthwhile ways contributing to society, we all become angels in more ways than we realize.
I wish UNESCO would promote The Year of the Angel just as it has The Year of the Child and the Year of Women. Maybe that’s not too far-fetched, since we are in the International Year of Light right now, and angels bring light not darkness, like Archangel Uriel carries the flame of God.
The world right now needs more angels and their unselfish, caring acts of generosity and love. We need angelic acceptance and not just tolerance. We need understanding and patience, and peaceful thoughts. We waste our energy acting out in frustration and rage against things we can only change by changing individual hearts and minds, thereby creating the positive power necessary to alter the systems and laws we abhor.
Want a good place to start? Try a few angelic smiles and kind gestures today.