Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Third Sunday of Lent—7 March AD 2021
Ave Maria!

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Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Mass Text]
[Latin Mass Text]
[Lenten Observance]

On the Angels

“By Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he casts out devils.”[1]


    This statement made by the Jewish crowds about our Lord—although it is in error—demonstrates that the Jews truly believed in devils and angels.

    One of the ways in which the modern world tries to destroy our faith is by undermining our belief in God's purely spiritual creations, the angels.  In contemporary art they are portrayed as little girlish things—with white lace dresses, lacy wings, and golden curls.  The fallen angels look even sillier, wearing red suits, with pointy ears, a pointed tail, and carrying a red pitchfork.  Both devils and angels are made to look like Halloween characters—a pretty sure way to make us think of them as imaginary creatures.

    But, certainly, we know better.  God created the angels—beings of pure spirit, without bodies (they have neither pointed tails nor wings)—before he created human beings.  Being pure spirits, they are closer in nature to God, than we composite beings made of body and soul.  We are, as the Psalm says, “a little lower than the angels.”[2]

    We lack certain and precise information about their creation and fall, but we certainly know of their existence.  Both the Old and the New Testaments are filled with references to both the angels, and their fallen counterparts, the devils.

    Like men, the angels were created to demonstrate God's glory, and to be happy with him in heaven.  They seem to serve three general purposes.  The higher angels—seraphim, cherubim, and thrones—minister before the throne of God in heaven.  Those of middle rank—the dominations, powers, and virtues—oversee the workings of divine providence in the universe.  And those of lower rank—principalities, archangels, and angels—mediate between God and men.

    Human experience, of course, is with the lower ranks.  So we know of angels guarding churches and nations, guarding and advising us as individuals, and as messengers of God's word to his people.  In fact, the name “angel,” comes from a Greek word that means “messenger,” for that is the capacity in which we know the major angels of the Bible.  Mention the word “angel,” and most of us tend to think either of our guardian angel, or of Gabriel announcing the birth of Jesus to Mary, or of Michael doing battle with the devil, or perhaps of Raphael guiding the younger Tobias and healing his father.

    Angels, again, are similar to us, in that they have both intellect and will.  Yet the angelic intellect is sharper and quicker than man's.  And his will, once determined, is immutable.  That is to say that angels have the capacity to know about all of the things in creation without having to travel to them, and without the delays and inaccuracies introduced by our physical senses.  They know instantly and clearly.  And once their minds are made up, they never change.

    We are not exactly sure how some of the angels fell from grace, but we do know that through pride they rejected God's graces.  Some scholars conjecture that the fallen angels could not accept the idea of adoring God in the physical body of Jesus Christ.  In any event, their unalterable wills cause the devils to reject God for eternity.

    The most awful thing about Hell—which was created for fallen angels; not for people—is that it is an unending state of sorrow for the loss of God's freely offered graces.  It is permanent for the angels now, and will become permanent for all those people who reject God in their last human acts.

    (That's another foolish notion being spread by the Modernists—that hell is somehow temporary—that it will one day close down and fallen angels and fallen men will be taken to heaven.  It is a foolish idea because it clearly violates the angelic nature, and ignores God's justice.)

    From our perspective, the most dangerous thing about the fallen angels is their envy.  They have lost heaven forever, and are jealous of those who have not:  “If I can't be happy, I don't want anyone else to be either.”  They retain their great intellect and power, and they can and do use it to lead us into sin.  So we are always well advised to remain in the state of grace, in order to be best prepared to resist them.

    We also have the faithful angels to call upon for help—particularly our guardian angel.  Devotion to the angels is said to be a sign that we will one day enter heaven—and that only makes sense—if we make it a point to associate only with the good angels, and take delight in the things of heaven, we will one day go there.

    Perhaps you can see why the devil would like us not to believe in him or in the angels.  Our eternal destiny is not yet fixed, and a lot of it depends on how we live out the rest of our lives.

    So, if our will can be fixed on anything, it ought to be fixed on living in the company of the angels, and avoiding the wiles of the devils—so that one day we will join the company of the angels and the saints, and see God face to face forever.

The angels are real—they can help you if you let them!



Dei via est íntegra


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