Today is the feast day of the archangels St.Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar.
Thanks to an early morning program on EWTN, I’ve just been reminded of the connection between St. Gabriel and the “Hail Mary” pass–a football term that Wikipedia tells us was first used at Notre Dame in the era of the Four Horsemen.
In a program titled “Surprises of God,” Father Raymond de Souza talks about the phenomenon where a football team, in the closing seconds of a game, places its hopes for a surprise win in the hands of a quarterback’s Hail Mary pass. And Father de Souza reminds us, even more importantly, that St. Gabriel was the first voice to say “Hail Mary” and was, as angels can be, a bearer of remarkable news.
These messengers of God deliver good news, but it may not seem like it at first. In any event, one had better pay attention to it. Of course, if an angel appears to you, you’re probably going to pay attention.
(De Souza assures us that he doesn’t think the “Hail Mary pass” terminology is intended to be disrespectful, and I’m agreeing that this is an innocent, potentially evangelizing phrase.)
Happy Feast Day to all those who love St. Gabriel (also the patron saint of radio), the excitement of Hail Mary passes, the graces of the Hail Mary prayer, angels and God’s surprises, and the commitment to pay attention to God’s surprises. As de Souza suggests, we constantly trust God to help us emerge victorious even when it looks like we’re losing the battle. We wait in joyful hope always for the Lord’s good news and promise to pass it along! St. Gabriel, pray for us!