As children many of us were brought up to pray to our guardian angels. Somehow our parents would invoke our angels to protect us and guide us in our daily life. It almost became synonymous that when we dared to defy our parents rule they would say, “You’d better pray that your guardian angel will protect you.”
Other than calling upon our guardian angels to protect us, there is something more important, more distinct in following and applying the angelic model in our daily walk with Christ. When we take the time to really study the lives of the angels throughout salvation history one cannot help but see that they are truly models of evangelization.
Who and What Are the Angels?
St. Augustine explains that the name “Angel” defines their office, not their nature. The true name of their nature is “Spirit” (CCC 329). They are spirits which make up their nature; they are angels for what they do as servants and messengers of God (CCC 329).
Angels possess certain qualities such as extreme intelligence, a will, and surpass perfection. Another distinctive quality of angels is that they are at the service of Christ Himself. Christ is the center of the angelic world (CCC 331) and thus angels were created through and for him; they are His (Mt 25:31; Col 1:16).
Messengers of God
When one reads Sacred Scripture you cannot help but see the role angels have played in spreading the Word of God. Because the angels belong to Christ, they are ministers to Christ’s covenant. He has made them messengers of His saving plan for all humanity.
Some of the examples we have from Sacred Scripture reveal a unique evangelistic role the angels have had throughout salvation history, such as:
- They announced Salvation (Job 3:8-7)
- Closed earthly Paradise (Gen 3:24, 29, 21:17, 22:11)
- Stayed Abraham’s Hand (Ex 23:20-23)
- Led the people of God (Jdgs 6:11-24)
- The archangel Gabriel announces the birth of Christ (Lk 1:11; 2:14; 26)
The Catechism tells us from the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels from his birth (Heb 1:6); praise of his birth (Lk 2:14); protect at his infancy (Mt 1:20; 2:13). (CCC 333)
How Do They Evangelize?
The archangels (Michael, Gabriel and Raphael), as with all the angels, evangelize by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. This involves the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery which would place them at the very beginning of the Incarnation and the climax of His Resurrection. In other words, they are perpetually proclaiming the Kerygma, the Gospel of Christ, to the whole world on his behalf.
In keeping with the angelic model of evangelization, our evangelistic efforts should start with the presentation of God’s plan: a pre-evangelization or period of inquiry of sorts where our intent as evangelists is to engage the person to see outside their own religious box and begin to place themselves within Christ’s plan for all humanity which is eternal rest in Heaven. Part of our calculated engagement is to draw the person into the mysteries of Christ one mystery at a time beginning with why we are created in His image and likeness and why this likeness was further revealed through Jesus Christ the Son of God.
The Catechism beautifully describes the role of the angels this way: from its beginning until 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. (CCC 336)
Let us call upon the intercessory prayers of the archangels on this their feast day, for their continued guidance and protection. St. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael; pray for us!
Copyright 2014, Marlon De La Torre