Jesus was right! I was glad to return to the Cathedral and the flat mystical circle of time for the celebration of the feast-day of the archangels Michael and Gabriel and the heavenly hosts. The awareness of a common purpose and of ultimate victory in this bloody long battle, and the camaraderie that is present in the Cathedral all make me feel safe and secure, and peaceful here.
I realized that the church building is a gathering place for little gods to enjoy a respite from the conflicts of the outside world where the spiral of time and a kaleidoscope of good and evil create a strong sense of chaos. The church building is a place for them to be healed from the wounds they may have incurred, to worship God together, and to receive His mystical potion for strength that they will need when they go back out.
Actually it was not peaceful in the cathedral today. I entered through the front door to find the place crowded with spirits of men and women and hundreds of angels that watched over them throughout their earthly lives. What a holy spiritual convention this was. The gamut of heavenly hosts was pouring in through every opening. I spotted a few Thrones who travelled all the way from God's throne room to attend. Cherubim and Seraphim were flying around the dome comparing themselves to the mosaics and laughing.
"Welcome back! How did it go out there!"
"Oh! hello Poppy, I looked for you to say good bye, but couldn't find you anywhere. It was, well horrible. The Lord gave me a vision of the spiritual battle. I never did discern the Bride or anyone who was aware of the mystical year. I am just so happy that I could return."
"Oh, it's not that bad. You will get used to it out there, and when you find the Bride in the field you will respect Her all the more for being the warrior She is. Now come, the service is about to begin!"
Poppy and I looked around for a place to perch. The dome was packed in tight, as you can imagine it would be. We finally managed to find air-space in the balcony. After we settled in, I looked down to see the iconostasis sparkling. The royal doors were shut, but the light behind them, in the altar, bounced off the golden doors to radiate beams of light out into the nave.
The chanters with their master chanter were tuning their voices. Sophicles, Guardian Angel of the Cathedral, was particularly busy greeting his guests and making sure that the hierarchy was being respected everywhere.
The parishioners were also entering the Cathedral a few at a time, one here, a couple there taking their usual places in the pews. Of course they couldn't see all the angels which was too bad because their numbers were few, and I suspected that they were sad that more of their kind were not here to join in the worship.
Many guardian angels of absent parishioners looked around to see if their people would be arriving in time, or at all. This being their only time off for the year; they hoped that for this one hour, out of 365 24-hour shifts in the year, that they would receive reciprocal attention, but most found none. The look of disappointment on angelic faces could have melted a rock.
Just as the celebration of the liturgy was about to begin Michael and Gabriel appeared together, each opening a side of the Royal Doors. The littlest angels in the pews looked at each other and giggled over the excitement of being in the presence of Michael and Gabriel and the higher heavenly hosts. Many of them had come from the streets, from Anacostia and Southeast where they protected the homeless and rarely witnessed such grandeur.
All eyes turned to face the guardian angel of The United States of America as he made his tardy but regal entrance. Being the Cathedral of the Nation's Capitol he came here to celebrate. What an honor thought all the lowly little angels.
The priests were clothed in their most glorious vestments as they made their appearance and began to lead the worship of the Holy Trinity and then to honor the heavenly hosts as they said "for protecting their Cathedral and their parishioners, and indeed the whole country, they who always behold the face of God in the Heavens."
The celebration could not have been more glorious. Tears streamed from angel-eyes over the gratitude they could see emanating from the hearts of the little gods in the pews and from the spirits of deceased gods, as well as from the chanters and the priests and altar boys and deacons.
The priests knew above all, what a difficult assignment it is to protect their flock who are embattled day and night. Both priests were well aware that this annual feast day of gratitude was paltry compensation for the enormous benefit that the angels bestow on their Church and their little gods.
"Oh, isn't this wonderful!" said Poppy vibrating faster than ever. "Gratitude makes all the hard work and conflict somehow seem worth while." As Poppy said this I tried to think about how her job was hard. After all, I had only seen her flittering around churches.
Poppy didn't stop while I was thinking, "Isn't it beautiful how gratitude unites the giver and the recipient! They become One, like God is One!" Poppy's enthusiasm made me laugh. I wondered how such a thought could be new to her.
The Master Chanter, sounding like Archangel Michael himself, belted out his lines with perfect pitch and tone demonstrating with his voice adherence to perfection in Christ that the Bride demands of Her little gods.
For example, he chanted, "O Commanders of the Heavenly Host, we the unworthy beseech you, that through your entreaties you will fortify us, guarding us in the shelter of the wings of your ethereal glory, even as we fervently bow before you crying: "Deliver us from all danger, as Commanders of the Powers on high! "
By the end of the liturgy the entire cathedral, body and soul and spirit blended perfectly so that I think I saw the foundation of the church building rise out of the ground. The heavenly congregation spirit and flesh alike filed out with an afterglow on each radiant face.
Except me and Poppy. I looked at her and said, "Okay, what next?"
Poppy replied, "We have one week until Advent begins. What do you wanna do? "
"Poppy," I replied half jokingly, "What is sleep? I think I'd like to try it."