| Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints and
PAOLO DI GIOVANNI FEI
THE ANGELS: AN
Angels are pure spirits.
They can, however, take a visible form.
The Angels are pure spirits without bodies, whereas men have both body
and spirit. Yet the Angels can take to themselves a bodily form, as did
St. Raphael [Tob. 5: 18], when he undertook to accompany the young
Tobias on his journey. At the sepulchre of Our Lord, after the
Resurrection, the Angels appeared in the form of young men, and the
same was the case after Our Lord's Ascension [Mark 16:5; Acts 1:10].
The nature of the Angels is nobler than that of man; they have greater
knowledge and greater power.
The Angels excel man in their knowledge, but even they do not know when
the Day of Judgment will come [Matt. 24:36]. So also is their power. An
Angel destroyed the first-born of Egypt. Another caused the death of
one hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers of the King of Assyria,
who had blasphemed God [Is. 37:36]. An Angel protected the three young
men in the fiery furnace at Babylon [Dan. 3:49].
God created the Angels for His Own glory and service, as well as for
their own happiness.
Among all the creatures that God has made, the Angels resemble Him the
most, and therefore the Divine perfections shine forth the most
brightly from them. They also glorify God by singing ceaselessly hymns
of praise to Him in Heaven. The Angels also serve God. The word Angel
signifies messenger. "Are they not all ministering spirits," says St.
Paul, "sent forth to minister to them that shall receive the
inheritance of salvation?" [Heb. 1:14] Even the bad Angels promote the
glory of God, for God turns their attacks on us to His glory and our
profit. Goethe rightly describes Satan as "a power that always wills
evil, and effects good."
The number of the Angels is immeasurably great.
Daniel, in describing the throne of God says: "A swift stream of fire
issued forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered to Him,
and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before him: the
judgment sat, and the books were opened." [7:10] Holy Scripture calls
them the the heavenly host. In the Garden of Olives Our Lord said that
if He were to ask the Father, He would presently send Him twelve
legions of Angels [Matt. 26:53]. The number of Angels is greater than
that of all men who have ever lived or will ever live.
The Angels are not all equal; there are nine choirs or ranks among them.
The rank is determined by the amount of gifts that God has bestowed on
them, and according to the office assigned them. Nearest to the throne
of God are the Seraphim, who burn more than the rest with the love of
God; next to them are the Cherubim, who are distinguished by the
vastness of their knowledge. We also read in Scripture of
Dominations, Principalities, Powers and three Archangels, St. Michael,
St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. There is also a corresponding division
among the fallen Angels.
power and beauty of the good Angels is so ravishing, that St. Bridget
says the appearance
of one alone
of them to mortal man would occasion immediate death. Father O'Sullivan
tells that their their sanctity is beyond that of all the Saints,
because they are filled with the
unction", having never been stained by sin, so that their charity is
to St. John, they have the essence of the Godhood more than all other
creatures. Thus, while we acknowledge their greatness,
let us bless
the hand of Him Who made them, by saying:
to the Holy Angels
ye holy Angels!
who contemplate unceasingly the uncreated Beauty of the Divinity, in
with thy ever glorious Queen-----I, thy unworthy
present and offer to thee all the practices of this Month of October,
to thy glory, not only as a means of obtaining [here specify your
but also as a reparation for my past ingratitude, and that of all men.
Deign to accept it, O amiable Spirits! in union with the love and
of such Saints as were specially devout to thee and obtain for me to
this time so fervently, that it may be the commencement of that angelic
life which I hope to live for ever with thee in Heaven. Amen.
to the Angels
O holy Angels!
that Jesus, the eternal Truth, assures us that thou doth "rejoice more
at the conversion of one sinner, than at the perseverance of many
Encouraged thereby, I, the most unWorthy of creatures, humbly entreat
to receive me as thy servant, and make me unto thee a cause of true
Do not, O blessed Spirits! reject my petition, but graciously
and grant it. Amen.