Christmas Mysticism: Angels are like shards of light
One of the doubts I have always held about the Catholic Church is that it treats its followers a bit like children. When I see the standard-issue stories about Heaven, Hell, Angels, God, the Devil, and all the other guys in the band, it’s easy to recognise “the old rhetorical language of the Church”.
People today are much more sophisticated than the peasantry of old. Universal education, science, well-informed television news and documentaries, plus daily newspapers, keep even the poorest up to speed. It is utterly counter-productive to impose a paternalist overview on “the flock”. Headless chickens, they are not.
Pope Francis seems to have recognised this temporal disjunction and set about reforming it. Rome has now opened a second front: Angels are “shards of light,” not humanoids with wings.
“Angelologist” Father Renzo Lavator, speaking at a conference on angels in Rome, said: “They are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase,” which is both a poetic and a precise picture of what appears.
Now, I’m sure that various psychologists, who did not experience this, will write about “hallucinations” and “seeing what they want to see”.
Humanoid visions, perhaps, but angels as shards? I don’t think so. As a trained psychologist myself, I retort (in advance of their inevitable response), grow up and recognise that you do not know everything, nor have you experienced this “out of body state”.
The good Father is also an optimist, as mystics should be: “Pope Francis talks more about the devil than about angels and I think rightly so. But it’s still early, he will get round to the angels too.”
… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.
Coming eventually: Mystology: A different way of looking at the world..