Vol. II, May. 1996


"Servant of God"

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood!

In the life of Abraham the holy Angels appear often. Once, without knowing, when he showed hospitality to strangers, he had entertained angels (cf. Heb 13,2):

The Lord appeared to (Abraham) by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. (Gen 18,1 f.; cf. 19,1. 15)

God had chosen Abraham to be the father of the "Chosen People", however He gave him Sarai as wife, who "was barren; she had no child" (Gen 11,30). Abraham and Sara knew about God's plan, but they could not know, "how can this be" (Lk 1,34), and the solution, which Sara offered, was not the one of God (cf. Gn 16,2 and 17,19). What does this passage tell us about the holy Angels and our communion with them?

1. The holy Angels are sent here not to save someone's life but in mere obedience to the Will of God, to His plan of salvation with man! By the initiative of God Himself they come as His servants, selfless, "transparent" to their Lord and God in all, in attitude and word, having only the fulfillment of His Holy Will "in mind".

We may find it strange that they accepted to be served by Abraham, but is it not part of humility, of the love for the truth, not to "remove our lampstand from its place", or to accept everything what God ordered the creatures to be without looking at others to compare with! The angels accept honors for what they received from God but do not attribute this to their own merits.

They bring the message of God and announce the word He gave them. They do not question its content; they are faithful and

trustworthy. For them God Himself guarantees for the truth and value of His word, so that it does not matter, if it may be realized by natural law or by divine intervention. - This explains why they do not accept hindrances on the side of other creatures.

The Angels see what is hidden to man, referring to Sara's behavior behind the tent; through God they knew her thoughts; it seems that man cannot deceive them.

The Angels reveal the secrets as they spoke to Abraham about Sara's doubt on God's Word!

The Angels do not accept any doubt on God's Word, the sanctity of God forbids them to do so.

While the Angels do not excuse faults, they help men to believe by teaching them about the Omnipotence of God: Is anything too hard (wonderful) for the Lord? (V. 14)

By all the clarity and resoluteness, the Angels manifest also God's patience and comprehension with man's weakness.

- As priestly servants of God are we not supposed to be and act like these holy Angels? Does not awake in us the desire to find a way to a more intense collaboration with them?

2. Does this text also teach us something about the way to a life with the Angels?

Abraham accepts the Angels with an openness, which he shows towards everyone and with the offer of everything he has. He will be known for ever as the man of the "Adsum" to the will of God, which may be manifest to him directly by Divine revelation or indirectly in the most human forms as here in the visit of "strangers". The promise of a son was known to him already; it is the theme of mostly all the biblical story of his life (see chap. 12, 15 and 17). This may explain his silence; according his attitude described in the chapters before, we may think that his silence is an act of faithful submission and trustful acceptance of God's revelation about the way He will fulfill His promise.

Sara, first, "was listening at the tent door" to what was not said to her, so that, secondly, she "laughed" about it, mocking and doubting, and - being revealed her fault - she, thirdly, "denied" it, she lied, "for she was afraid"; her sin was completed. (cf. VV. 10-15)

Curiosity and doubt, human respect and cowardice, lack of humility and sincerity, any form of falsehood - this all is revealed, denounced and condemned at once in the presence of the Angels!

3. In front of the will of God we find here the Sara doubting and mocking, the Abraham in silence thinking, the Angel however openly confessing with firm faith in the Omnipotence of God (cf. V. 14). The evident parallelism to the annunciation of Our Lord indicates to Our Lady as the Woman who believes, who adores the Will of God and collaborates with it like Abraham and the holy Angels (cf. Lk 1,37 f.)! Her self-given name, "the handmaid of the Lord", expresses the conviction of the Angels about God's greatness and their nothingness that has to be surrendered and bound at His omnipotence by adoration and abandonment, by consecration of the self.

God has always a plan for us, His will wants to lead all our life. Therefore He sends His angels always out to lead us according to His Will and to call us into the union with it. To correspond we need to live constantly open for His call like Abraham: being interiorly silent before God in adoration of His Holy Will and disposed to serve at every moment with humility. This is, how we, educated like Abraham by the Angel, will become a servant of God with and like them!

4. The life of the holy patriarch encourages us to pray to the holy Angels and ask for their mediation and guidance according to the will of God. It gives us hope, that we may - with the grace of God - be able to become a servant with them as our God-given fellow servant (cf. Rev. 19,10).

To come nearer to this goal pleasing Our good Lord more and more as good and faithful servants, in this coming month

a) let us meditate and imitate Our Lady's and Abraham's silent openness and obedient readiness towards God's holy Will and the Angels as its mediators;

b) let us ask in our morning prayer consciously for the greater help and guidance of the holy Angels in the every day life;

c) let us meditate about the exemplar attitude of the Angel as a servant of God and confront our priestly service with their exclusive orientation towards the will of God, with their humble simplicity in the service of the Most High, with the purity of their transmission of the Will and Word of God, with their transparence towards God's Holiness as well as towards His patience with regard to every man.

- with their exclusive orientation towards the Will of God,

- with their humble simplicity in the service of the Most High,

- with the purity of their transmission of the Will and Word of God,

- with their transparency before God's Holiness

as well as before His patience with regard to every man.

May they accompany us during this month and bring us nearer to them and through Our Lady nearer to God in Christ, The priest.

Fr. Titus Kieninger, ORC