In the name of Adonai the God of Israel:
May the angel Michael be at my right,
and the angel Gabriel be at my left;
and in front of me the angel Uriel,
and behind me the angel Raphael…
and above my head the Sh’khinah
The above is from the night prayers of Jewish people. I first learned of this from a simple song my friend Rabbi James Goodman sang at a memorial service that I went to for a friend of the family’s aunt who passed.
Most of what we know of Angels actually comes from Jewish Kaballah, or Mysticism, and other sources such as the Book of Enoch (apocryphal) and so forth. In Catholic understanding, we know of 3, who are explicitly named in Scripture, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. Michael the Warrior, Gabriel the Herald, Raphael, the Healer.
The above prayer very perfectly demonstrates for us the Cosmos… and how things are arranged. When God made us… he made us in his image. That placed us in creation, slightly above those angels, who are our Messengers. The prayer though, points us back to God. No matter where we are or what company we keep… God in his Glory, his Sh’khinah glory…is always above us.
Sh’khinah – the very word suggests a Cloud… or something ineffable. Even the angels.. still have Him above them.
I think its fitting this year this Holy Day… leads into Yom Kippur.. the day of Atonement for Jews. One cannot ask for forgiveness, unless one understands their place in creation, for only then can you have a contrite heart. Where christians do not celebrate Yom Kippur (For us… Yom Kippur..Passover are made perfect and Unified in the Cross…I digress), we can learn alot from our Jewish brothers on the immensity of God.
The angels point us to that more then anything. As powerful as they are.. with ability to move mountains.. raise and lower cities… Heal the Sick… Cast out demons , they still are under authority.
Come all you Messengers, into play.
To My Right Michael, Who is like God, to My Left Gabriel, God’s Messenger, infront of me Uriel, Gods Sight, and behind me Raphael, God’s Healer…
But always above my head, Sh’khinah