Church of the Visitation
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels - in particular, the spiritual messengers mentioned in the Bible: Michael (
), Gabriel (
) and Rafael (
). What does the Church say about angels?
Although I am quite fond of reading on
, I still enjoy walking through bookstores. In particular, I like to see what is being displayed towards the front of the store in the "Popular Reading" sections. Often I see books on angels, portrayed by News Age writers as those mysterious beings who direct our lives and show us the secrets of the universe. Entertaining, yes - but not quite true.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
(CCC) is quite succinct it what we believe about angels:
The existence of angels - a truth of faith
: The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition. 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". 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. (
Angels and humans are the only known beings created by God that possess intellect and will. We know that, in some way different than the life-long process through which we grow closer to or further from God, these beings were given the free choice to be with God for all eternity or to be separate from Him for all eternity. Those who chose to separate became evil, now inhabiting and attempting to lure humans into hell.
Angels, who remain in God's presence at all times, act in God's service by assisting people in the course of their lives. They do so quietly, effectively, without a lot of show. They help to transmit God's grace to us and remind us of that grace when our minds are weak. But, in spite of their great powers of intellect and spiritual nature, they are still created beings like humans - they do not enjoy the infinite power nor wisdom of God. Also, they do not share in one very important attribute of humanity: while they too are created in His image and likeness, God never took on the form of an angel, as He did when He appeared among us in the person of Jesus. Therefore, humanity shares in an aspect of divinity that the angels cannot. It has been suggested by some theologians that this is why Satan and his legions turned away from God; they saw a glimpse of this divine action and rejected it in their pride.
For more information on the Catholic understanding of angels, view this Question and Answer at
St. Francis Blessing of Animals
- Be sure to bring your furry (or scaly or feathered) friends to receive a blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, who loved and cared for animals as part of God's creation. Our blessing will take place on Sunday October 1st at 3PM in front of the church. We look forward to seeing you!
No creature, not even the most exalted angel, can understand God or have perfect knowledge of Him.
Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, PCPA, Founder EWTN
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
Theology for Beginners
Sometimes it might be helpful to review teachings we either learned as a child which have gotten a little re-arranged as we grew, or to learn things we
Theology for Beginners
has been acclaimed as one of the outstanding modern introductions to theology. It is a clear, precise, and inspiring compendium of the central doctrines of the Christian faith.
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Sent by Fr. Ed Blanchett on Friday, September 29, 2017 at 3:00PM