Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from the new book A Message of Hope from the Angels
As an Imam began interviewing me in St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on New York’s Park Avenue, four beautiful enormous angels appeared beside the aisle — two at the front and two at the back. The angels were standing inside the pews, in the seats, even though every seat was taken in the packed chapel.
The angels were bright gold. It appeared as if they were made of real solid gold reflecting bright sunlight. They were very tall with exquisite narrow wings that seemed to stretch up as if the roof of the chapel wasn’t there. The wings were so fine that I found myself asking if an angel’s wing could break — I was told no, of course. In their left hands the angels each carried a tall golden staff.
I watched one of the angels raise its right hand slowly, as the other three did the same. At chest height, the angel held out its hand, palm up, and from the palm seemed to come a very fine veil that moved up into the air to form a canopy over the people. The canopy was incredibly fine and a very bright white. When we prayed together, the veil seemed to billow gently.
This was an interfaith event where I, an Irish Catholic, had been invited to be interviewed about God and the angels by an American Muslim Imam, in an Episcopalian Church with a response by an African American Baptist. The interfaith dimension was heightened by the presence of Americans of different religions in the audience, including Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims.
The chapel was packed with angels and there was great joy and celebration among them at this wonderful gathering of different faiths. The angels told me that everyone under the veil was chosen to be there, had listened and had come. I was so excited, it was as if my soul were leaping — I’m not quite sure how I held myself together.
The angels told me that the people had come with an open heart and had dropped their defensive barriers. They had come to listen, to pray and to celebrate, and not to justify their own religion or to claim that it was superior. They didn’t come hoping to convert others to their beliefs, they came together with pure hearts to praise God and talk about him.
I have done other events in other parts of the world that, in many ways looked similar, but the angels have told me that they were , in fact, quite different. They said that at these other events many of the people came as representatives of their religion, and that they came, in part, to justify their religion, or even to convert. Most had an agenda, rather than a wish to simply join or pray together.
America is different.
People of all religions have been gathered to America from all over the world. The founding fathers came here wishing to create a new world — a world where people were free, free to live in equality and justice, and free to practice their religion. The angels have told me that the world the founding fathers were meant to create was one where there was freedom of religion and where different religions were practiced side by side, within communities that intermingled. This vision was not realized though. They didn’t listen fully. Yes, people were largely free to practice their religion but religions and communities were segregated. Instead of a world where religions were practiced side by side, walls were built between different religions. These walls between religions, had the effect of separating neighbors and, over time, people from different religions started to fear and compete with each other. At the same time religions splintered and fragmented into smaller groups that sometimes competed with each other.
There should be no competing for God. I have been told that each and every place of prayer should open its doors to all; that everyone should be welcome to pray in every holy place, and that all faiths should help those in need, regardless of their religion. Religion should have nothing to do with ego and places of worship should not be about power or money. Religious groups need to stop wanting to convert people. The biggest challenge for religion is to put an end to people thinking that their religious grouping is better than any other.
We need to start to pray together. I have been told that praying together is the cornerstone of creating a peaceful world. For far too long religious differences have been a cause of discord and war. Ordinary Americans praying together will allow people of different religions to get to know and understand each other. It will help them to lose their fear of each other, to see just how much they have in common and to become friends.
People from different faiths praying together should not just happen once or as a special occasion. This should be a normal and routine part of people’s lives, in addition to praying together with your own religious group.
I have been told that the first place that big numbers of people of different religions will start praying together regularly is America. This is one of the reasons that the American-gathering angels have been bringing people of all religions to this country. It is a part of America’s destiny to help bring all religions together under one umbrella. America will serve as a role model; a beacon of hope for the world. From America this form of praying together will spread across the world, helping to unify peoples and to build world peace.