By Didi Offerman
It is 240 years since James Watt perfected the steam engine; 130 years since Daimler and Benz invented the petrol engine. Now we have aeroplanes flying at twice the speed of sound, space probes on Venus and Mars, the computer entering every aspect of our lives etc and we are living in the time of the Archangel Michael.
What is Michaelmas? Before we can try to answer this question we need to consider what it is to be born into this age.
When we look at all the incredible achievements of mankind we must know that these things form part of our world and that is how it should be. But they should not form man. It should not be like the story of Frankenstein, the monster invented by a scientist but which got out of control and terrorised its own maker. It seems far-fetched to worry about a mass revolt of the robots. But the danger is much more subtle. What would happen if the kind of thinking that goes into making computers took over the power of thought of the human being? What would happen if man has no more free thinking and imagination and can only live in terms of formula and theory. In other words, we are cut off from our senses.
Autumn is the time of physical decay and death. Winter is the time of burial. Spring is the time of re-birth. Summer is the time of maturity.
So: Autumn / Death
Winter / Burial
Spring / Re-birth
Summer / Maturity
If we were only physical matter we would just endlessly repeat this cycle until the Winter of our own lives. We can say Youth is the Spring time of our lives and once can look forwards to the Summer time of one’s maturity. And then we won’t want to think too much of our Autumn and the gradual failure of physical powers and then death. If we were only physical this would be the rounds. But we can choose what one would become and here we meet the role of the Archangels and how they year is experienced by the human spirit.
There are four Archangels attributed to the four Festivals of the Christian Year.
Archangel Gabriel embraces Christmas – the birth of the Ideal.
Archangel Raphael embraces Easter – self surrender for the Ideal
Archangel Uriel – embraces the consummation of the Ideal
Archangel Michael embraces Micahelmas – the conception of the Ideal
There is a special need for the Michaelmas Festival in our time because Michaelmas is the time of the courageous conception of the Truth, without which no Ideal can be born.
We are living in a time where Man has become so involved in the material world that it is more and more difficult to look inside oneself for the essential.
At Michaelmas we celebrate the fact that we are FREE – free to choose what we will to become. We do have not to be triggered by our environment, our status, or our image of ourselves. Every individual is as free as the next to form a conception of the truth.
The key is the story of Michael and the dragon but it is very important to notice that Michael subdues the dragon and does not slay it. We have to find the dragon within ourselves and show it who is master.
How can one characterise the dragon of today? To make a list of moans about all the evils like pollution, noise, the rat-race, computers etc only makes one feel weaker. To moan and criticise is in fact a self-indulgence and self-indulgence could be a dragon that needs taming by the sword of Michael. If we avoid major issues of our time, or in our lives, because we are scared of bruising, no new life can flow through. If we only complain we are actually saying I matter and you should care. But a true individual stands on the principle I care and you matter. Such a person does not identify with the bruise on the apple, but with the forces of life that stream through the apple.
In this way the bruise of Michaelmas is not a pain but an opportunity for the human spirit to flow into and redeem its environment.
As we go about our tasks and work it is not just about what we are doing but also what we are becoming that is important. At Michaelmas we should realise that we are free to choose what we will to become, and to become that which we will.
Never be so busy as not to think of others.” ― Mother Teresa