You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending.

Jesus was shrewd. He could see that Nathanael wasn’t going to be easily convinced that he was the Messiah, let alone follow him. But he wanted to help this faithful Jew. So he used a tried-and-true method employed by many wise rabbis. He linked his new teaching to something familiar and established from the Torah. That way, Nathanael might see the connection between Jesus and the faith he loved: the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But Jesus was also subtle. He didn’t mention Jacob by name or his “stairway to heaven” (Genesis 28:11-17). He just used a few familiar words from Jacob’s dream: “angels of God ascending and descending” (28:12; John 1:51). Those angels surely sparked Nathanael’s memory and opened him up to a new encounter with the God of his fathers. Just as Jacob saw heaven opened and the angels going up and down, so would Nathanael—as he followed Jesus. Using the Scriptures that Nathanael so revered, Jesus told him something revolutionary: he himself was the new meeting place. He was the new connection between heaven and earth.

Today, on the feast of the Archangels, rejoice that Jesus is infinitely creative in helping you to encounter him. Just as he led Nathanael, he will lead you to faith. He might even use angels! Heavenly messengers like Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael can remind you of God’s work in the past and ignite your hope for the future.

Gabriel helped Mary to trust in God’s promise and calmed her fears (Luke 1:30, 37). Raphael guided Tobias and healed his father, Tobit (Tobit 6:1-4; 11:11-14). And Michael defends God’s children whenever we experience temptation (Revelation 12:7). These emissaries from heaven are always available to help you. So pray to see “heaven opened.” Ask for the grace to behold Jesus and “the angels of God.” Jesus stands ready to meet with you; he will bring heaven down to earth for you!

“Angels of God, help me to see Jesus and the glories of heaven!”

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 138:1-5
John 1:47-51


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