Monday – the Day of the Holy Angels

guardian-angel.jpg

Yesterday I set out to write a short piece on each day of the week. In the Orthodox calendar, each day of the week has its own particular dedication – an aspect of the life and ministry of Christ or of our life as Christians. Monday is remembered as the Day of the Angels. The hymns for this day will always reflect, in some manner, the ministry of angels.

The Scriptures are filled with the stories of angels – whether encounters with angels by men or women – or visions of angels (described in numbers that represent a near infinity) surrounding God or His throne.

The first sort of story I find of interest because it says we are not alone – that is – not alone among sentient creatures. We are not the only creature who can give voice to praise. We are told in Scripture that the angels are “ministering servants” – as far as we are concerned they are here to help.

I have collected (mentally) many stories of modern angelic encounters over the years and marvel at each one. Some are simply unusual but otherwise mundane – a stranger who acted on someone’s behalf and then seemed to have vanished. Others are stories of angels that could have been taken from Scripture – complete with wings! Among those is one related from the childhood of Mother Alexandra (the former Princess Ileana of Romania).

Of the visions recorded in Scripture – I find it interesting that there is no description of a heavenly vision of God or His throne (however obliquely God may be described) that does not include a numberless host of angels. God is not spoken of as the Alone – but as the Lord God of Sabbaoth (Hosts).

Thus I begin my Monday with a remembrance that I am not alone – my prayers and praises are part of a vast chorus that fills the universe and beyond. Nor do I dwell alone. I am watched and guarded by the good God who created me, and by His angels that surround me.

Troparion to St. Michael in the 4th tone

O Commander of the Heavenly Hosts,

We who are unworthy beseech you

That by your prayers you will encompass us

Beneath the wings of your immaterial glory

And protect us who fall down and cry:

Deliver us all from harm,

For you are the commander of the powers on high.

Comments

  1. says

    I finally attended my first Orthodox services this weekend. I understand that the Saturday Vespers was a combined service for evening and morning prayers and that some parishes have the morning prayers before the Divine Liturgy. I also attended DL on Sunday.

    There is way too much for me to process right now (and I’ll probably write it on my own blog), but your post reminded me of something.

    Vespers was small. The priest, a reader and the choir director (priest’s wife). The reader was a very pleasant tenor and the choir director alternated between the lead and alto as the particular hymn needed to sustain a proper harmony.

    I was invited to sing with them (I am a handy bass in a pinch). I have heard it said that while Orthodox are at least discouraged from praying with non-Orthodox (and often forbidden) that non-Orthodox may pray with Orthodox, so maybe this is the priest’s thinking. (He showed me how to cross myself and venerate icons, but I couldn’t get that comfortable.)

    My point? Sorry, getting there.

    I very distinctly had the impression that the building was not empty as it appeared from the small choir nook where the three of us stood for those two hours.

    I have had the unfortunate experience of holding Bible studies on Wednesday or Sunday night when attendance was light and it was always troubling, but my heart was not troubled at all.

    I can confirm something else. On Sunday I didn’t join the choir and so couldn’t follow the service at all and became very much an “observer” and while that did have some merit, it was meaningless compared to the hospitable participation I was allowed on Saturday.

    Does everyone chant that fast?! I think you wrote once how you were surprised at how slowly monks spoke the Jesus prayer. I longed for them to slow down so that I might savor the liturgy.

  2. says

    Dear David, boy can I relate about the speed of chanting! I attend a Russian parish and know quite a bit of Russian, but I cannot keep up with the Creed when it’s chanted in Slavonic! Too fast! Otherwise, my personal solution has been to get a book of the Divine Liturgy to help follow along. Of course, the prayers and readings that change aren’t in there, but it might help through the rest of the service. After a while, you get used to it, learn a lot by heart, and your ears speed up or something. :)

    Father, I really like this series on the days of the week. Thank you for doing it! I am learning a lot.