Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints and Seraphim
c. 1340


Part 3:  Section 1

1. The 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  Thrones, Dominations, Principalities, Powers and three Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. There is also a corresponding division among the fallen Angels.

The 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 "Divine unction", having never been stained by sin, so that their charity is "exceedingly great". According 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:

TheTe Deum


Offering to the Holy Angels

O ALL ye holy Angels! who contemplate unceasingly the uncreated Beauty of the Divinity, in company with thy ever glorious Queen-----I, thy unworthy servant, present and offer to thee all the practices of this Month of October, consecrated to thy glory, not only as a means of obtaining [here specify your request], 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 devotion of such Saints as were specially devout to thee and obtain for me to spend 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.

A Memorare to the Angels

REMEMBER, 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 just." Encouraged thereby, I, the most unWorthy of creatures, humbly entreat thee to receive me as thy servant, and make me unto thee a cause of true joy. Do not, O blessed Spirits! reject my petition,  but graciously hear and grant it. Amen.