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Angels are created non-material rational beings who exist in the spiritual world and who assist humans throughout their life to attain the purpose of their being, namely to live forever in the eternal presence and love of God who created them.
Angel Nature And Dealing With Humans In Hebrew Scriptures
Angels possess a spiritual nature which places them above God's physical creation. In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), we learn how they intervened in human affairs, exercised power over nature, communicated God's messages, destroyed and punished, helped and saved.
Account of Sodom and Gomorra
"As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, 'On your way! Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.' When he hesitated, the men by the Lord's mercy, seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters and led them to safety outside the city. As soon as they had been brought outside, he was told; "Flee for your life! Don't look back or stop anywhere on the Plain. Get off to the hills at once, or you will be swept away.'" (Genesis 19:15-17)
Account of The Prophet Elijah Fleeing Jezebel
"He (Elijah) lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, 'Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!'" (1 Kings 19:5-7)
Account of The Destruction of the Assyrian Army
"That night the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all the corpses of the dead." (2 Kings 19-35)
Seraphim Angel Cleanses The Prophet Isaiah to Prophesy
"In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!" they cried one to the other. "All the earth is filled with his glory!" At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, "Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Then one of the Seraphim flew to me, holing an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. "See," he said, "now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged!" Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? "Here I am," I said, "send me!" (Isaiah 6:1-8)
Seraphim Angel Cleanses The Prophet Ezekiel to Prophesy
The Book of Ezekiel describes Ezekiel's vision of a Seraphim angel who said to him: "As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you: be not rebellious like this house of rebellion, but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you. It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me, in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me. It was covered with writing front and back, and written on it was: Lamentation and wailing and woe! He said to me: Son of man eat what is before you; eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat. Son of man, he then said to me, feed your belly and fill your stomach with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. He said: 'Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my works to them.'" (Ezekiel 2:8-10, 3:1-4)
Jesus Christ Becomes the Divine Mediator in New Testament
Among the writings in the Bible called the New Testament, we learn that, with the coming of the Son of God, the role of angels changes because Jesus Christ now acts as the perfect Divine Mediator, who through his sufferings and death on the cross, made satisfaction to God His Father for man's original disobedience and rejection of God.
While human nature is superior to all forms of material creation, human nature is not equal to the angelic nature because angels see God, praise Him and worship Him. They exist in great numbers as we read: "I looked again and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number." (John Revelation 5:11)
Jesus Christ - "Angels Always Available For My Call"
"Do you think that I (Christ) cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)
May Take On Human Appearance To Help Men Understand
Because angelic nature is not limited by the material, sometimes these immaterial beings assume a human form in order to be understood when they communicate God's messages to men; for example, when they appeared to the shepherds who were guarding sheep in the fields near Bethlehem and announced the birth of the Christ, man's redeemer and savior, into the family of Mary and Joseph.
"Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests'" (Luke 2:8-14)
Angels place our prayers before God, and interact with humans as did the one who rolled back the huge stone covering the entrance to Christ's burial tomb after his crucifixion: "And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow." (Matthew 28:2-3)
Little Children Have An Angel To Guide Them
Angels advocate for little children before God: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father" (Matthew 18:10)
The Church Holds That All Angels Have A Spiritual Nature And Free Will
Some believe the separation of the proud angels from the good came about in the beginning when all were given a glimpse of God's plan for the salvation of humankind. Respecting their freedom to accept or reject His plan of love, those who rejected it also chose to oppose Him who is all-good and eternal. These now whom share an eternal of hatred of God and the humans He created. These fallen angels are called demons, who attempt by distractions to draw us away from accomplishing our true purpose on earth, namely to love God, and live out the message His Son preached when He came to live among us. Their eternal, and all-consuming hatred against God and his human creation is always present.
Our Actions Reflect Our Love Of God
For this reason his church reminds us that throughout our life's daily activities, "What you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me." (Matthew 25:45)
It is believed that angels serve God who works in particular ways through them, for example: they celebrate the feasts of the Church here on earth, they bring the prayers of men to God, they watch over us, they pray and support us from heaven and upon our death, lead the soul of the faithful departed into the next world.
Orders of Angels
Since about the 9th century, angels have been grouped into nine order or choirs and are named: the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Archangels and Angels. While uncountable numbers of angels exist, there are few biblical references to the names of certain angels and their particular activities with humans. Three however, are known and are honored in the public worship of the Church, while four others have been seldom mentioned. The three familiar archangels are the Archangel Michael, Archangel Raphael and Archangel Gabriel.
While angels are non-material beings, they possess a spiritual nature, and must not be regarded as mere forces of nature. They constantly worship God in his presence and carry out his desires in his dealings with men. In the exercise of their capacity, we find the Archangel Michael whose name means, "Who is like God, confronting the angels who have rejected the test which identified their loyalty to God from the earliest moments of creation when God separated, "light from darkness."
Today's church members often publicly repeat the "Prayer to St. Michael" after daily Mass. Written by Pope Leo in 1884, the St. Michael prayer petitions: "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humble pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls."
The name Raphael means, "The Health of God." It was he who healed Tobit as told in the Old Testament. "I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead, I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord." (Tobit 12:12-15)
The Archangel Gabriel is referred to as the "Messenger of God" because it was he who visited Mary during the sixth month in a town of Galilee called Nazareth and said, . . . "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.'" (Luke 1:26, 30-33)
At his greeting, Mary responded, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)
While not specifically named in the Bible, Guardian Angels are thought to be intelligent spiritual beings who exercise personal individual care and protection over humans and help them achieve eternal salvation. These pure spirits are assigned to care for individuals, groups of people, a city, physical areas or a particular nation.
Be assured, that angels strengthened Christ as he underwent the agonies of His passion, and Mary who was honored by angels both throughout her son's life and presently in heaven, so that we, who have been redeemed through His loving actions for us, may experience the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that of Mary the Mother of God's Son, as well as the Holy Angels who desire that we share their heavenly happiness for all eternity.
Sometimes it may be difficult to know when or how to talk to our Guardian Angel, and even know what to say. The following short prayer is easily learned and can be said at any time.
Prayer to Our Guardian Angel
"Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule, to guide. Amen."