Blogger’s Note: This post is in no way authoritative or serious. It’s meant only to spark the imagination, as mine was sparked. Have an opinion and laugh a little!
We observed our parish’s feast day—the Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels—this weekend. The actual feast was Friday; Fr. Richards celebrated the school Mass that day and delivered the same homily, which included a prop: a beautiful, barred wing feather.
“I got a relic,” he said, brandishing the feather, “of St. Michael the Archangel.”
Laughter rippled through the church.
He then told us that he had the idea of using a feather as a prop for the school Mass, but then had no idea where to find one and forgot about it. When Friday morning rolled around, a parishioner came before Mass to ask Father to bless some religious items, before Mass, not after, because she was on a tight schedule. He agreed and opened the bag to find the items to be blessed—and a single feather.
He asked if he could use it. She gave it to him, unsure why or how it happened to be there.
“I think maybe St. Michael has the same sense of humor as me,” Father said.
Which raised a question in my mind: We’ve often joked that our parish does not have a relic of our patron because angels tend not to leave much behind. But if St. Michael provided a feather for Father—even if it were not his own*—would that not be a second-class relic: an object used or touched by a saint?
The teens I spoke with, including my own, felt strongly that because angels do not have bodies, they could not touch an object, so it could not be a relic. I argue that it’s worth considering the possibility from two standpoints: first, because Scripture suggests angels can, in fact, touch and be touched at times (e.g., when Jacob wrestles the angel and is injured by his opponent) and second, because the fact that angels can interact with and affect the physical world suggests to me that we humans may have a limited conception of touch.
What say you? I say Father should hang onto that feather, just in case.
*Another thought: We usually see angels portrayed with white wings, but what if St. Michael has colorfully barred wings, like a hawk? How cool would that be?