Angels Are For Real
Angels are back. While in our religious circles,
we have neglected them, the secular world
has appropriated them and made them visible…
trinkets, books, movies.
When I made a Google search on angels, over
three hundred million pages turned up! I
still remember how surprised I was when on
my first visit to the States I discovered
myriads of books on angels, mostly New Age,
displayed in the bookshops I visited.
The reason why we downgrade so easily their
practical importance is because many of us
still entertain these images of angels assembling
on clouds, playing harps and smiling down
The truth is that these celestial beings
have jobs and are working hard on their mission
which is to guide us toward God. They shield
us, push enemies out of our way, keep us
from falling and inspire us to do the right
thing at the right time.
Psalm 91 is very clear. "He ordered
his angels to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you; their
job is to keep you from falling."
The Book of Exodus tells us plainly "See,
I am sending an angel before you, to guard
you on the way and bring you to the place
I have prepared."
We find a whole book, the book of Tobit,
that is characterized by an angel (actually,
an archangel), accompanying a young
his journey in life.
Angels crisscross constantly the Old and
New Testaments, being mentioned directly
or indirectly nearly 300 times. David impressively
sings in Psalm 68, "The chariots of
God are myriads, thousands upon thousands".
These chariots are the angels, comments a
Scripture scholar, "his chariots of
war, which he makes use of against his enemies,
his chariots of transport, which he sends
for his friends, as he did for Elijah…, his
chariots of state in the midst of which he
sows his glory and power." Warriors.
Protectors. Messengers. And they are vastly
numerous: 'thousands upon thousands'.
And they are all for us. Impressive.
The Hebrew Rabbis even say that we are shielded
on all sides by angels. "To my right
Michael and to my left Gabriel, in front
of me Uriel and behind me Raphael, and over
my head God's Shekhinah (the presence of
The angels protected Jesus in his infancy,
served him in the desert, strengthened him
in his agony in the garden.
It was the angels who first 'evangelized'
proclaiming the Good News of Christ's coming
to earth to Mary and to the shepherds; it
was they that gave us the news that He rose
from death. And we know it, they will be
present at Christ's return, which they will
announce, and they will serve at his judgment.
They also protect us. The first episode of
the TV series Touched By An Angel, depicts
a grief-stricken mother who had lost her
baby to sudden infant death syndrome. Monica
'the angel' comes to console her. But the
mother snaps, "You're an angel? So what?!
Where was the angel when my baby died? Why
didn't an angel call 911 for me? Why didn't
the angel drag me out of my bed into that
nursery? Where was the angel then?"
Monica drops to her knees and says, "There
was an angel with your baby when she died.
And it's the same angel who is with your
baby now. God loves you more than you can
One of the few Popes who became known as
'The Great' is Saint Gregory. He was elected
64th Pope by unanimous acclamation on 3 September
This is what he had to say about angels.
"Whenever something is to be done needing
great power, Michael is sent forth so that
from his action and his name we may understand
that no one can do what God can do. Hence
that old enemy who through pride desired
to be like God is shown at the end of the
world, left to his own strength and about
to undergo the final punishment, as destined
to fight with Michael the Archangel, as John
says, "There was a battle with Michael
Similarly, Gabriel was sent to Mary; he who
is called "Strength of God" came
to announce Him who deigned to appear in
humility to conquer the powers of the air.
And Raphael is interpreted "Medicine
of God," for when he touched the eyes
of Tobias to do the work of healing, he dispelled
the "night of his blindness".
We have nothing to fear sustained as we are
by these powerful combatants. The Catechism
of the Catholic Church summarizes it so beautifully.
"From infancy to death human life is
surrounded by the watchful care and intercession
of the angels. 'Beside each believer stands
an angel as protector and shepherd leading
him to life' (Saint Basil). Already here
on earth the Christian life shares by faith
in the blessed company of angels and men
united in God."
It is about time we make a conscious effort
to make them more real in out lives. Let
us start saying again, "Angel of God,
my guardian dear, To whom His love commits
me here, Ever this day be at my side, To
light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen."
You may say it even now.
DATA ON ANGELS
An angel is a supernatural being found in
many religions. In scripture, they typically
act as messengers, as held by the three prominent
monotheistic faiths, Christianity, Judaism
An anonymous author, known to historians
as Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a theologian
of the 5th century, was apparently very keen
on angels. In his book The Celestial Hierarchy,
drawing on different passages of the Scripture,
this writer concludes that there are three
hierarchies or choirs of angels, each with
different characteristics. Each order has
three different types of angels.
In the first celestial order, those closest
to God, there are the Seraphims (Lucifer
was a Seraphim), Cherubims and Thrones.
The Seraphims, referred to as "the fiery
spirits", are usually pictured with
six wings and flames. They constantly sing
God's praise and regulate heaven. Seraphims
are the highest order of angels. Originally,
Cherubims were depicted with multi-eyed peacock's
feathers to symbolize their all-knowing character.
They are the first angels mentioned in the
bible - God placed the Cherubim at the east
of the Garden of Eden to guard the way to
the Tree of Life. Thrones are referred to
as "the many eyed ones", portrayed
as winged wheels within wheels, whose rims
were covered in eyes. This is the vision
of the prophet Ezekiel of the famous 'Merkaba'
or the chariot of evangelization.
In the second celestial order we find Dominions,
Virtues and Powers who work as heavenly governors.
The Dominions quietly concern themselves
with the details of our existence. Virtues
have the task to oversee groups of people,
while Powers are bearers of conscience and
the keepers of history. The angels of birth
and death are Powers. Saint Paul mentions
them by name in his letters.
In the last order we find the ministering
angels, namely the Principalities, Archangels
and Angels. The Principalities are the guardian
angels of nations and countries. Archangels
are usually given a task of great importance
to men. According to the book of Revelation,
there are seven archangels who stand in the
presence of God, but only four are mentioned
in the Old Testament, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael
The Angels are the most familiar to men.
They are the ones most concerned with the
affairs of living things. Among these angels,
we find the guardian angel - an angel assigned
specifically to each one of us on birth who
constantly guides, protects and inspire us.
Evidence from Scripture as well as personal
experience confirms to us that these individual
guardian angels attend our ways and hover
protectively over our lives.
In four days, the Church celebrates first
on September 29th the feast of the three
Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael,
and then on October 2nd the feast of the
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