The Loving Submission of the Angels
"In their number the Angels are thought by far to exceed in multitude all the men who have ever been or who are yet to be. St. Thomas arrives at the conclusion that they exist in exceeding great number, far beyond all material multitude. Scriptures also frequently refer to vast numbers in speaking of them. Thus in the vision of the Prophet Daniel we are told: "Thousands of thousands ministered to Him and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him." These expressions merely signify that their number is beyond computation.
Now there might be confusion in Heaven, were this limitless multitude without order. But as we have seen the Angelic hosts are divided into various hierarchies and choirs, each one having its appointed duties, "not all equal in dignity but all duly subordinated. The Almighty God Who maintains so wonderful a harmony between thousands of suns suspended above our heads and rolling in space, maintains also among these celestial spirits, an admirable order and a marvelous subordination."
Their glory is to execute God's orders promptly and joyously and they lose no opportunity of proving their fidelity and devotion to the most gracious and the most perfect of Masters. They are an example to men of loving service and obedience. The Catechism of the Council of Trent commenting on this clause of the Our Father: Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, speaks as follows: "We also pray for the form and manner of this obedience, namely that it be directed according to that rule which the blessed Angels observe in Heaven and the choirs of other celestial spirits follow; that as they spontaneously and with supreme delight obey the Divine Majesty, so we may yield a most cheerful obedience to the will of God, in the manner most acceptable to Him."
Would, indeed, there were more resemblance between the inhabitants of Heaven and those of earth. This poor world of ours would be much the happier for it. The thought of these bright Intelligences, so far superior to men, becoming our servants, so to speak, in answer to God's will, should stimulate us to a more ready and loving obedience to the designs of Providence in our regard. It should be, as Father Faber writes, "an endless delight to us that they serve God so well while we are serving Him so poorly and that they themselves so abound in love, that they joy in the love of men . . . The dear Angels hang and brood and float over this sea of human joys and sorrows, never too high above us to be beyond our reach and more often mingling; like Raphael, their unsullied light with our darkness, as if they were but the best, the kindest and the noblest of ourselves . . . "
Truly wonderful is the goodness of the Angels in not refusing to bestow their care even upon those who commit only venial offenses against their, Creator, considering the knowledge they possess of the infinite greatness of the Divine Majesty which is insulted thereby. How amazing then to see that they do not abandon even those wretched persons who live in mortal sin, who trample under foot the Precious Blood of the God-Man and are guilty of His death! With incredible kindness they continue to watch over these unfortunate souls and spare no effort in bringing them to penance and reconciliation with God. Let us then return their Angelic services by our affectionate gratitude and confidence.
Some one may ask: "Do these great Angels really prize our poor love and friendship?" Most certainly. St. Gertrude tells us that one day she was inspired to offer her holy communion in honor of the nine choirs of Angels. God permitted her to see how radiantly happy and grateful they were for this act of love. She had never dreamed that she could give them such happiness. This example should encourage us to do the same, especially by offering the Divine Blood in thanksgiving to God for all the beauty and holiness and glory that He has given them. If we do so they will repay us a thousand times over.
The following lines attributed to Thomas A. Kempis speak beautifully of the Angels' loving submission and happiness in Heaven:
choirs on high