BASED ON THE WRITINGS OF ST. DON
Devotion to the holy Angels has seemed to decline in recent
has, in fact, the cult of the Saints and to a lesser extent,
perhaps, the praying of the Rosary of Our Blessed Lady.
Fashions in popular devotion and particular forms of Catholic piety
change with the times. Part of the difficulty with devotion to the
Angels has always been our human difficulty in imagining what a pure
spirit might be like. While the existence of Angels is a certain dogma
of our faith, yet it is not one of the central mysteries of our
religion like the Incarnation.
From holy Scripture we know of three Archangels: there is Michael who
cast Lucifer and the wicked spirits into Hell; Gabriel, the messenger
who announced to the Blessed Virgin the news that she was chosen to be
the Mother of Our Savior; and Raphael, who guided Tobit on his journey.
Raphael is the heavenly patron of happy meetings, of married couples,
of those with diseases of the eye, and those who carry large sums of
Medieval writers especially drew up treatises on the Angels. . .
. they divided Angels into nine choirs, and concluded by reason that
each Angel is a separate species. One angel is greater than all of the
Catholic devotion concentrates on the three Archangels whose feast day
is celebrated each year on September 29, and on the Guardian Angels,
whose feast is observed on October 2. Hence, October, in addition to
being dedicated to Our Lady's Rosary, is also traditionally the month
of the Holy Angels as well. [The
Feast of St. Gabriel is March 24; the Feast of the Apparition of St.
Michael is May 8; and the Feast of St. Raphael is October 24; these are
apart from the Feasts mentioned above. -----The
Angels there are is, of course, not known but it is a long
tradition that there are thousands upon thousands. Some are guardians
of particular nations, others of persons whose actions shape and alter
the course of history. Each person is said to have a Guardian Angel as
protector. It is said of St. Frances of Rome, for example, that her
Guardian Angel was visible to her at all times.
In years gone by, children were always taught a simple prayer to their
Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard, to rule and guide.
Each time Mass is offered the priest, as he begins the Canon,
sings the hymn of the holy Angels:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Each day of our lives we ought to call upon the assistance of our
Guardian Angel to protect us in danger, especially in time of
temptation, to aid us in doing good, and to lead us when we are in
doubt and perplexity.
As depicted in art, Angels lost much of their sublimity. They are
pictured, as St. Michael is, with enormous wings, upraised sword, and
Satan's head beneath his foot. Such representations are only symbolic,
and many of them, the little cherubs, for example, unworthy
visualizations of those mighty, majestic and mysterious creatures who
live constantly in God's presence. See Angels in Art page for
Imagination is little help, but faith lays hold of the reality we are
unable to envision. By faith we know the invisible world exists quite
close to us. Let us make friends here of the Angels in whose presence
we hope to spend eternity.