The Courtiers of the King of Kings

The Angels who are not appointed to perform exterior duties are considered God's Courtiers in a more special way, although all the Angels without exception, as Our Lord points out "always see the Face of His Father in Heaven." Theology assures us that a first glance into the home of the Angels will reveal to us countless throngs of bright spirits facing the Throne of their King, the Triune God. They contemplate His Divine perfections, basking in the eternal sunshine of Heavenly delights. They offer up the praises, the prayers, the good works of mortals. They plead the cause of human beings against the devils, by offering in their behalf the Precious Blood of Jesus. This ministry is exercised above all by the Seraphim, the Cherubim and the Thrones, as being the nearest to God in the celestial realm.

Here on earth we may say that these sublime spirits are represented in these most lofty functions, although in a very imperfect way, by those souls who devote their existence to the praise and glory of God in the contemplative life. To consecrate oneself here below to glorifying God and to cultivating the soul, to meditating on His greatness, His perfections and other attributes, is to reproduce upon earth the life of Heaven. It is to lead the life of the Angels, who praise their Creator continually and who will praise Him eternally. Souls vowed to the contemplative life, though hidden in the cloister, serve the Church and society effectively. By an austere life of prayer and good works, they make reparation to Heaven for the sins of the world. Like the Angels, they offer to God the Precious Blood of His Divine Son, to solicit grace and pardon for themselves and their brethren. They pray for the sanctification of nations and plead the cause of all. They call down upon the world the beneficient waves of the Redeeming Blood which bring comfort and forgiveness to suffering hearts and wounded souls. In a word, they imitate the Angels who do good to all. Let us often ask the Angelic spirits to increase the number of contemplative souls whose hidden mission is so useful to the world and gives such glory to God.

God's Courtiers from the moment of their confirmation in grace found all their joy in the contemplation of the Beatific Vision. This joy must have been immeasurably increased when Christ appeared in His Sacred Humanity and took His place at His Father's Right Hand. Henceforth there would be renewed rejoicing among the Angels over every sinner doing penance and whitening his soul in the Blood of the lamb. And what tongue can tell the glorious scenes that took place in Paradise when, a few years later, Mary the Mother of God was assumed body and soul into Heaven and proclaimed Queen of Angels? With what bursts of triumphant song the angelic Courtiers must have welcomed the humble Virgin whom the proud rebel hosts had refused to honor!

A very beautiful story is told about St. Cajetan, who at his birth had been dedicated to the Mother of God by his noble parents. Cajetan led an heroic life of charity and was remarkable for his devotion to Our Lady. One Christmas eve, the gracious Mother of God showed her appreciation of his love by placing the Infant Jesus in his arms. "When St. Cajetan was on his death bed, resigned to the will of God, eager for pain to satisfy his love, and for death to attain to life, he beheld the Blessed Virgin radiant with splendor and surrounded by ministering Seraphim. In profound veneration he said, 'Lady, bless me!' Mary replied, 'Cajetan, receive the blessing of my Son and know that I am here as a reward of the sincerity of your love and to lead you to Paradise.' She then exhorted him to patience in fighting an evil spirit who troubled him and gave orders to the choirs of Angels to escort his soul in triumph to Heaven. Then, turning her countenance full of majesty and sweetness upon him, she said, 'Cajetan, my Son calls thee. let us go in peace'!" [Butler's Lives of the Saints]

It is the sight of God as He is, the contemplation of the Divine Essence unveiled, the Beatific Vision, as it is called, which has made the Angels blessed until now, and will continue to be to them the one source of supreme and perfect bliss for all eternity. They will never weary of it. We weary only of what satisfies our cravings but imperfectly. We can never find true contentment here, because no earthly object and no accumulation of earthly goods fully meets the yearnings of the human heart . . .There is only one object whose possession stills every craving, because it fills to its utmost capacity the whole mind and being of the creature, fulfilling all its desires and setting all its longings at rest. Only the vision of God, the Infinite Good, can bring it peace. No wonder if amid such blissful repose, ages glide by unnoticed and "a thousand years are as a day that has passed."

Whatever else may be the occupation of the Angels, they never lose sight of God. They love Him and they sing forever the song of love. Their will is ever one with His and they are at all times full of melody in His praise.

O Angels of Paradise, God's resplendent Courtiers who continually gaze upon the Blood of our Redemption "in Its consummate glory and beautified immortality," we beseech thee to intercede for us, that we, too, may attain to that unending bliss and sing with thee the eternal song of the Elect, in praise of the Precious Blood Which has merited Heaven for us.

Father Faber tried to give us a faint glimpse of that beautiful Heaven which the Angels enjoy with the Saints, when he wrote the following verses:

Oh, what is this splendor that beams on me now,
This beautiful sunrise, that dawns on my soul,
While faint and far off, land and sea lie below,
And under my feet the huge golden clouds roll?

See! forth from the gates, like a bridal array,
Come the princes of Heaven, how bravely they shine!
'Tis to welcome the stranger, to show me the way,
And to tell me that all I see round me is mine.

There are millions of Saints, in their ranks and degrees,
And each with a beauty and crown of his own;
And there, far outnumbering the sands of the seas,
The nine rings of Angels encircle the throne.

But words may not tell of the Vision of Peace,
With its worshipful seeming, its marvelous fires;
Where the soul is at large, where its sorrows all cease,
And the gift has outbidden its boldest desires.

I had hardly to give; 'Twas enough to receive,
Only not to impede the sweet grace from above;
And, this first hour in Heaven, I can hardly believe
Is so great a reward for so little a love.