THIS ANGEL IS FOUND on the facade of the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, Reims in France which was completed in the year 1275. Over the seven centuries he has lost a wing, the end of his nose and the better part of his right arm. Still he smiles. Indeed, the angel is simply called, The Smiling Angel.
Alleluia is the joyful Easter word. It's been said that the word itself comes from the language the angels speak. Perhaps this smiling angel is thinking thoughts we're unable to think and which cause him a deep interior joy.
Maybe the angel is thinking about the Incarnation of God at Bethlehem and the Resurrection of Easter morning. Or the angel might be contemplating our eternal destiny and his knowledge of God's love for us in Christ, despite our capacity for hatred and self-destruction.
We were given a window into the mind of God when Jesus told us God knows when a sparrow falls to the ground. Despite endless wars which bomb medieval cathedrals and schools and heap every kind of atrocity on people - still the angel smiles. The angel knows what God knows; Alleluia is the angel-word expressing that knowledge.
Alleluia also sounds like the sounds a baby makes. We call it babbling. And Jesus tells us to be like children, that is: allow yourself to be vulnerable, be an unquestioning and grateful receiver. But also, acknowledge before the great mystery of God's mother-like, self-sacrificing love for us, perhaps the best we can do is babble. The theology, the exquisite hymns and prayers - it's all just a holy stammering before the inexpressible things of God.