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Angels

This past week we celebrated the Feast for Archangels on 29 September and Memorial for Guardian Angels on 2 October.  Now, when we were little, we were told about our Guardian Angels and how they would help and support us with attaining salvation.  As we grew out of childhood, we tended to forget about our Guardian Angel to include the Archangels.  Let us do a refresher course and rediscover angels!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the existence of the spiritual, non-human beings that Sacred Scripture calls “angels” is a truth of faith.

Who are they?  Angels are spirits who are the servants and messengers of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates that while having intelligence, angels are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures i.e., humans. 

Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation to include closing the Garden of Eden, the earthly paradise; assisting the prophets with their writings; and announcing the forthcoming birth of Jesus through the Archangel Gabriel.

God brought his son Jesus into our world with the Angels singing “Glory to God in the highest!”  They protected Jesus throughout his infancy, served him in the desert, strengthened him in his agony in the garden, and proclaimed the good news at His resurrection.

The three Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture and all three have important roles in the history of salvation. 

Saint Michael is the “Prince of the Heavenly Host,” the leader of all the angels. Michael’s angel forces cast down Lucifer and the evil spirits into Hell.  Michael is invoked for protection against Satan and all evil.  Christian tradition recognizes four missions of Saint Michael: to fight against Satan; to rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death; to be the champion of God’s people; to call away from earth and bring men’s souls to judgment.

Saint Gabriel, whose name means “God’s strength,” is mentioned four times in the Bible. Most significant are Gabriel’s two mentions in the New Testament: to announce the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias, and the incarnation of the word in the womb of Mary.  Christian tradition suggests that it is St. Gabriel who appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and that it was he who strengthened Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

Saint Raphael, whose name means “God has healed” was given this name because of his healing of Tobias’ blindness in the Book of Tobit.  Tobit is the only book where he is mentioned. His mission is that of healing and acts of mercy.

The life of not only the Church but for all of us benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.  Beginning at birth and remaining throughout our life until death, each one of us has a guardian angel, who watches over us and helps us attain salvation.  St. Padre Pio stated, “when you need something, send me your guardian angel!”

As a child we were taught early to say a prayer to our guardian angels every day:  “Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom His love entrusts me here, ever this day/night be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide – Amen.” 

Blessings – Dcn Jim