Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By F. K. Bartels

9/29/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith.(CCC #328)

(Pictured: St. Michael the Archangel) 'Too, the angels assist us on our final journey, accompanying the dead on their way to the destiny reserved for them, as was the poor man, Lazarus, carried away and placed in the bosom of Abraham (Lk 16:22)'.

(Pictured: St. Michael the Archangel) 'Too, the angels assist us on our final journey, accompanying the dead on their way to the destiny reserved for them, as was the poor man, Lazarus, carried away and placed in the bosom of Abraham (Lk 16:22)'.

Highlights

By F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/29/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in U.S.


GLADE PARK, Colorado (Catholic Online) - Spring of 1916: three peasant children, Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta, were playing a game in the hills of Portugal. The children often tended their sheep among these hills, and lived in a hamlet just minutes away from the village of Fatima, called Aljustrel.

Startled by a sudden, strong wind, the children turned and saw "a light whiter than snow in the shape of a transparent young man, who was more brilliant than a crystal struck by the rays of the sun." This young man looked to be about "fourteen or fifteen years old," as Lucy recalled. She said they were "surprised and ecstatic," and that they "did not utter a word." The young man said to the children, "Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me."

Angel is from the Greek, "aggelos," and means "messenger". The angel appeared to the children three times. In regards to the third apparition, Lucy notes:

"In the third apparition, the presence of the angel was still more intense . . . It seemed to deprive us even of the use of our bodily senses for a long period of time. For several days afterward, we performed our physical actions as though sustained by that same supernatural being who compelled us to do them. The peace and happiness we felt were great, but intimate, as our souls were entirely concentrated on God."

Little did the children know that the Angel was preparing the way for them to meet the Lady "more brilliant than the sun".

The name Michael means "one who is like God". His will is focused, immovable, and entirely driven toward accomplishing goodness; he is the protector of souls, and wields his powerful sword against the poisonous and vindictive aspirations of he who is known as a liar from the beginning.

During a visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, John Paul II said, "The battle against the devil . . . is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel."

Scripture relates such a truth: "Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. Although the dragon and his angels fought back, they were overpowered and lost their place in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, the seducer of the whole world, was driven out; he was hurled down to earth and his minions with him" (Rev 12:7-9).

Michael the Archangel said to the three children at Fatima, "Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me." Then he prostrated himself, and repeated three times: "My God; I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee! I beg Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee!"

In mind of the powerful experience related by Lucy, the above prayer of St. Michael brings tears to our eyes when we contemplate the utter serious nature of this committed warrior who strives after peace with all his being. Too, we can fathom the seriousness of our situation in regards the reality of life, of good and evil, of the battle that rages around us, and of God's wondrous love in giving us such a vigilant and magnificent protector.

Gabriel means "God is my strength". He was sent from God to Nazareth, "to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, . . . and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you'" (Lk 1:27-28).

Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote: "He [Gabriel] came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God's strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle" (excerpt from Hom. 34, 8-9).

Raphael means "God is my health". He is one of seven angels "who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord" (Tob 12:15). The meaning of Raphael's name reflects the fact that he touched Tobit's eyes in order to heal them of blindness.

St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit,' from what they do, 'angel.'" With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word" (CCC 329; Mt 18:10).

The angels are truly beautiful. As we reflect upon them we are drawn toward a deeper and clearer understanding of God's love for man; for billions of angels, to be sure, are given the personal charge of looking after their own child of God. Every moment of each day, day after day, year after year, our faithful guardian angels stand at our side, focused on our well-being with far greater power than even we ourselves can summon; for they see the reality of our life in clarity, which is something we often fail to do. God has commended to each of us an angel for our very own. What love!

The CCC explains: From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God (336).

Now, what more do we know about these wonderful angels?
"As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness" (CCC, 330; Dan 10:9-12).

God created the angels, like man, with an intellect and will, yet these shared attributes cannot be exactly compared, for they differ greatly in strength and power. For example, we might compare the intellect and will of a child to that of an adult: the former is not nearly so strong as the latter.

The angels' intellect is far advanced over that of man, and, as for their will, they do not struggle with doubt, weakness, and the tendency to fall into sin. On the contrary, the angels' will is an incredible force, unceasingly directed toward the Ultimate Good, powerfully focused upon that Good, which is, of course, God.

The angels were created with far-reaching intelligence. Unlike man, the angels have no need to labor away day after day in order to arrive at some small understanding. The knowledge contained in their intellect was infused therein in an instant. Man's intellect is but a fragmented, dim light when compared to that of the angels, who know not only all about music, the arts, and nature, but all about the farthest reaches of the universe as well.

As for how the angels move, we are all familiar with pictures of winged cherubs. Yet, as wonderful as wings might be, they do no justice as a description of an angel's movement. The angels are able to travel from our bedside to the sun's corona, from there to the most distant star and back again in less than an instant. In fact, it is actually irrelevant to include the element of time in a discussion of angels' movement. The speed of light is really no speed at all for our powerful guardians; for they are not constrained by the laws of time and space as are men. Their movement is as quick and effortless as a thought.

Further, because angels are not governed by the laws of nature as is man, they can be in two places at once. This is evident in the fact that they never lose sight of God in heaven yet are still able to remain at our side, ever watchful, always prepared to assist in our every need. Therefore to think that our angel might not be present in some sudden, immediate time of need is folly, for no unfortunate event can occur so quickly as to outpace the speed of our loving keepers.

Too, the angels assist us on our final journey, accompanying the dead on their way to the destiny reserved for them, as was the poor man, Lazarus, carried away and placed in the bosom of Abraham (Lk 16:22).

There are many accounts of saints who've been assisted by angels, their help arriving in various forms: there are stories of the sudden appearance of a large and ferocious dog who wards off enemies intent on inflicting grave harm; we hear of criminals who admit they refrained from assailing a women due to a large, powerful looking man seen walking at her side, when, actually, the woman was journeying alone; we often hear stories of a young, unknown man who displays actions of complete devotion and love, filling in for an absent parishioner during Eucharistic Adoration; et cetera.

That our own personal guardian angel is at our side cannot be doubted. Yet, unfortunately, we often fail to acknowledge him. How many weeks pass as we go along about our daily activities without giving him even so much as a thought? How many times have we narrowly escaped death yet failed to attribute our survival to the help of our guardian angel? Surely this must bring him disappointment.

Gabriel announced the most wonderful and sublime event ever to occur in the universe, the coming of the Incarnate God into the world through the womb of our precious Virgin Mary; let us, then, seek to hear the announcement of our personal guardian angel within our heart: "Listen to your Mother; seek her glorious Son; fix your will upon God!"

-----

F. K. Bartels operates catholicpathways.com, and may be reached via email at: bartels@catholicpathways.com. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Edward Nero, arresting officer of Freddie Gray, NOT GUILTY. Will Baltimore erupt once more? Watch

Image of Officer Edward Nero arrives at court. Nero has been acquitted of crimes in the death of Freddie Gray.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The arresting officer in the Freddie Gray case, Edward Nero, has been declared "not guilty" by the judge in his criminal trial. Now, the community waits to see if violence will erupt or if the streets will remain quiet. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Officer ... continue reading


Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

'The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Father Daniel Berrigan's Pro-Life Activism Watch

Image of Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Fr Frank Pavone

Father Berrigan was a radical figure who sent a total of almost seven years in prison.  What many don't realize though is that his activism extended beyond the anti-war movement and into the anti-abortion movement. Believing in what he called a consistent ... continue reading


Law allows persons to sue if you don't use the correct pronoun out of 58 to describe a person's sexual identity Watch

Image of We're going to need a lot more restrooms.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under a new law, businesses in New York will be fined if they don't use a person's preferred pronoun when referring to them. This especially becomes a problem when it is understood there are at least 58 possible pronouns with at least five grammatical variations ... continue reading


Science fiction? Feds discover the 'Grocery List,' post tweets to promote new technology Watch

Image of After millions of dollars in federal spending, government scientists have discovered the grocery list technology. Where would we be without such courageous efforts?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Federal Government has discovered the grocery list technology. This unlock apparently occurred recently as the Department of Agriculture sent encouraging, rapid-fire tweets to the public about how to use this remarkable new advancement. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Texas to build own version of Ft. Knox, is secession next? Watch

Image of Texas is bringing home its gold.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Texas is taking another step to becoming an independent Republic by recalling its gold and other precious metals home. A private company is planning to construct a bullion depository south of Houston, creating a virtual Ft. Knox for the state. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


We Need a New Pentecost and Whatever Happened to those Charismatic Catholics? Watch

Image of The fire of Pentecost

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I am one of countless thousands upon thousands whose life was profoundly changed by an experience, an encounter, with the Holy Spirit decades ago. I am old enough to remember when we who had this encounter were sometimes  called Pentecostal Catholics. That ... continue reading


The Obama Department of (In) Justice Takes on North Carolina, Civil Rights, and Sexual Difference Watch

Image of Federal Attorney General Loretta Lynch and North Carolina Governor McCrory

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If you rely on the main stream media for your news reports, you will not hear the truth of what is really happening in North Carolina. Much of the media uses Orwellian newspeak in its reports and has degenerated into a propaganda wing of the current ... continue reading


Will Texas leave the United States? Watch

Image of Texas plans to secede from the United States (texas.gov).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Texas has been thinking about seceding from the United States for quite a while. Now, after a Wednesday meeting of the Platform Committee of the Texas Republican Party, a Texas independence resolution will be up for vote during this week's GOP convention. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Alleged foul mouthed priest terrorizes Catholic school Watch

Image of Fr. Michael P. Reilly has been accused of being a foul mouthed priest.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Rev. Michael P. Reilly, a Catholic priest assigned to St. Joseph by the Sea High School in New York is in a lot of trouble this morning for his language. A suit filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges the priest made rude comments, swore constantly, and verbally ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 1:10-16
10 This salvation was the subject of the search and investigation of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders, his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:28-31
28 Peter took this up. 'Look,' he said to him, 'we have left everything ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 24th, 2016 Image

St. David I of Scotland
May 24: David, the youngest son of Scotland's virtuous ... Read More