The invisible world of Angels is often overlooked, though amazingly it has been with us since the dawn of creation. Countless Angels offer service and protection to humankind.
We might not realize it because we can’t see it happening. There are so many kinds of Angels. We could never count them all. Saint Thomas Aquinas said, “The Angels work together for the benefit of as all.” We are blessed indeed because God decided to create the Angels.
There are those who refuse to believe that there are Angels. Some have not yet been convinced that they exist. St. John Paul II pointed out in his “Catechesis on the Angels” that the existence of Angels was denied even in Christ’s time by the Sadducees and have been continually denied in every age since that time. We can look to Scripture for proof of the reality of Angels. Angels are noted in both the Old and New Testament. Sacred Scripture identifies nine choirs of Angels and Jesus spoke of more than twelve legions of Angels.
The Catechism tells us, “The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthy pilgrimage and protect every human being” (352). Saint Basil the Great taught us that the Angels are part of God’s plan of salvation. He proclaimed, “Beside each believer stands an angel as a protector and shepherd leading him to life.”Saint Ambrose encouraged us to pray to and communicate with the Angels.
Some of the saints have had experiences with the Angels. For instance, Saint Faustina recalled in her diary (March 21, 1936) that a bright Angel accompanied her on her train journey from Vilnius to Warsaw. He was constantly keeping watch by her side in the train. As they traveled past various churches, Sr. Faustina observed an Angel standing on every church. She noticed immediately that each of those Angels emanated a paler light than her companion, who was invisible to other people. As they passed each church, the angel standing on the church bowed to the angel which protected Sr. Faustina.
Saint Catherine Laboure described her Guardian Angel who woke her up one night in 1830 and asked her to come to the chapel to see the Blessed Mother. Saint Catherine at first thought the visitor was a small child and later realized without a doubt that the little boy of dazzling radiance was none other than her Guardian Angel.
In 1916, in Fatima, Portugal, Lucia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto were visited by an Angel which Lucia described as, “a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent, and as brilliant as crystal in the rays of the son.” Later on the three children were privileged to see the Blessed Mother in apparitions. Lucia, years later would write about the Angel encounters and messages in her memoirs at the insistence of the bishop.
I am very thankful that my mother informed me about my Guardian Angel when I was a little girl. She taught me the simple but powerful ancient prayer which incidentally carries a partial indulgence:
Angel of God
O angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom his love commits me here,
Ever this day, be at my side,
To watch and guard, to rule and guide.
I still pray that simple prayer and endeavor to teach others about the holy Angels. I have written Angels For Kids (Paraclete Press) which is based on Catholic teaching, Scripture, and St. John Paul’s catechesis on the Angels. I have also discussed the holy Angels with Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, on EWTN’s “Sunday Night Prime,” which you can see here and here.
The Angels are our incredible holy friends. We should get to know them better and teach our children and grandchildren about the holy Angels. We don’t want them growing up mistakenly believing that their pretend superhero friends that they see on television and meet in their video games are going to save them. Their true holy friends, the Angels, will.
During this hopeful inspiring season of Advent and Christmas, let’s endeavor to get more in tune with our Angel companions and encourage our children and grandchildren to do the same.
Did your parents teach you about the holy Angels? Do you converse with your holy Angel?
Copyright 2014, Donna-Maria Cooper O’Boyle