Do these statements relate to your Christian life? If yes, how so? “It is a heart movement, not a head movement; In shadowland where light can appear a shadow. The closer we get to light the more shadows we see.” If you wish, use the space at the bottom of the page to share your thoughts and experiences with others.
From a podcast by Br. Robert L’Esperance, SSJE
This afternoon, I want to say two things about angels and encounters with angels. First, that it seems to me that all angelic encounters are first and foremost about being open to the Other and intimacy with otherness. And second, that the mission of angels is bound up with the presence of both light and shadow in each of our lives and that all of our lives are bound up in angelic realms.
Talking about angels pushes us into that most remarkable region of the human mind that is able to entertain ideas and experiences that exceed our conceptual grasp. Belief and myth fall into this region. Religion was born in a world that had little use for the modern idea that belief has to do with intellectual assent to hypothetical and dubious propositions. Belief in its spiritual sense means to “prize, to value; to hold dear.” It’s a heart movement not a head movement, having much more in common with intuition than rational thought. It is closely connected to the concept of faith which in its biblical sense means “trust, loyalty, engagement, commitment.” Jesus set great store on faith but he wasn’t at all interested in whether people believed in him in the sense that we most often use that word. He wanted commitment not intellectual assent.
So if we are to talk about angels, or anything else to do with concepts that are beyond our conceptual grasp we have to, in a sense, return to that pre-modern world of thought where religious ideas were born. We have to admit, as all pre-modern people knew, that myths are fundamentally expression of Truth. Angels are beings born in the language of myth. Religion, faith, belief are always about a kind of experiential thinking that of necessity moves from our normal patterns of thinking. I know angels exist not because I can think “angels” but because my heart can know angels in a way that my head never can.
[Read Br. L’Esperance’s entire meditation here]