— The Archangels —

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

“As I watched, Thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days took his throne. His clothing was white as snow, the hair on his head like pure wool; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire.” (Daniel 7:9.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Next they come to Libnah, which means “whitewashing.” I know that in some respects whitewashing has a pejorative connotation, as when we speak of a “whitewashed wall” and “whitewashed tombs.” But this whitewashing is that concerning which the prophet says, “You will wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” And again Isaiah says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will whiten them like snow and will make them white like wool.” Again in the psalm, “They were whitened with snow in Zalmon.” And the hair of the Ancient of Days is said to be dazzling, white, that is, white like wool. So then, this whitewashing must be understood to come from the radiance of the true light and to descend from the brightness of heavenly visions.” (Homilies on Numbers, 27.)

O God,
who dispose in marvelous order
ministries both angelic and human,
graciously grant
that our life on earth may be defended
by those who watch over us
as they minister perpetually to you in heaven
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen