Angels not angles

Some of you will recall that I spend time each day on Twitter, hanging out with several other religious, as well as other friends, creating an expanding, supportive community, sharing deep insights and social concern, as well as creativity and fun. Yesterday one of them, currently in Rome, tweeted photos from St Peter's. In one tweet she wrote that she had prayed in front of the relics of St Gregory the Great, who sent missionaries to England, entrusting to him the social media presence of the #NunsOfTwitter and #BruvsOfTwitter. 

I replied with a reference to the pun which led Pope Gregory to send those missionaries. The story is that, before becoming pope, he noticed some blond, pale-skinned boys in a slave market, and asked who they were. Anglii, he was told - Angles from parts of what is now England. Maybe their paleness seemed especially ethereal, or the sun was burnishing their fair hair into golden halos: at any rate, Gregory's reply - Non Anglii, sed angeli - Not Angles, but angels - was cited as his reason for later sending a group of missionaries to this island.  

So, my tweeted reply - I hope he will help us to be not Angles but angels! - was light-hearted, but also contained a heartfelt desire, common to us all. And if St Gregory was able to enjoy his little pun, then so can I...

Not angles... Not sharp or pointy, rigid and inflexible - and most definitely not obtuse! Interestingly, an angle is an intersection; two lines meeting at a common end point... But those two lines are always depicted as moving away from each other, heading in different directions. They meet at their beginning, but never again.* Which is how a lot of Twitter spats can develop, alas!

But angels... Not ethereal or haloed beings, but people; ordinary, gifted, fallible people. But people with all the kindness, gentleness, care and concern associated with those who stand in God's all-embracing, all-loving presence, and are sent to announce him - announce Love, and Love's gifts of hope and peace - to our bruised and thirsting world. Because right now, this world definitely needs more angels than angles - in "real" life, as much as on social media. 

Let us all not be angles, but truly, fully, whole-heartedly angels.

* It's a long time since I've had anything to do with angles or maths, so I realise I've probably misrepresented them.