29th September – Feast of Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

Today is the feast of the Archangels. The alternate first reading is Rev 12:7-12.

Now war broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived all the world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him. Then I heard a voice shout from heaven, ‘Victory and power and empire for ever have been won by our God, and all authority for his Christ, now that the persecutor, who accused our brothers day and night before our God, has been brought down. They have triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the witness of their martyrdom, because even in the face of death they would not cling to life. Let the heavens rejoice and all who live there.’

The motto traditionally attributed to Satan is “Non Serviam” which is Latin for “I will not serve.” This expresses his pride and desire to live independently of God – all of which is closely related to the Original Sin of our first parents who desired to choose their own morality independently of God’s Truth.

This week’s article by Fr Ron Rolheiser is a reflection on the Prodigal Son and it touches on this prodigal sontheme. (I dont always agree with Fr Ron’s point of view but when he is good, he is very good!)

The prodigal son’s real issue was not so much his hunger for pleasure as his hunger for the wrong kind of independence. He wanted his life and the freedom to enjoy life completely on his own terms and, for him, that meant he had to take them outside his father’s house. In doing that, he lost his father and he also lost genuine life and freedom because these can only be had inside the acceptance a certain dependence. That’s why Jesus repeated again and again, that he could do nothing on his own. Everything he was and everything he did came from his Father.

Our lives are not our own. Our lives are a gift and always need to be received as gift. Our substance [who we are in our deepest selves] is not our own and so it may never be severed from its source, God, our Father. We can enter our lives and freedom and enjoy them and their pleasures, but as soon as we cut them off from their source, take them as our own and head off on our own, then dissipation, hunger, and humiliation will follow.

There’s life only in the Father’s house and when we are outside that house we are fatherless and wasting our ousia [life].