Okay! Let’s get a few things straightened out about the Angels. First, the angels existed long before Hallmark Cards and Gifts. I know you think they invented them because their stores are filled with chubby, ceramic, baby-faced angels, however, God created the angels long before he created the person who invented Hallmark Cards and Gifts. Look – I like Hallmark too, but they did not create the angels.
Second, angels are not chubby and baby-faced. They are warriors who would and have fought for God. There was a great battle in heaven before the world was created (see Revelation 12:7-12). Remember what Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew when the Temple guards come to arrest him – “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (26:53). A legion at that time consisted of 5,300 men. That means Jesus could have had 63,600 sword-wielding angels fighting for him. Talk about bringing the BOOM!
Third, when we pass from this life into the next life of the Kingdom of God, we will not become angels. Sorry to break the news to you all! We will become saints because we are saints here on Earth. On Earth, we are the saints militant. In Purgatory, we are the saints suffering (purgation). In Heaven, we are the saints triumphant. I know that Hollywood always portrays us as going to Heaven and getting a pair of wings (“every time a bell rings…an angel gets his wings”), but in reality, we don’t get wings and we are not angels in heaven. Angels are God’s creatures as well but different than humans. Angels don’t even have wings since they don’t have bodies. In art, angels are portrayed as having wings and look male and female, however, that is the case because it helps us relate to them better and to understand their powerful intellect.
Now that some of those assumptions are cleared up, let’s talk about the angels and who they are in God’s divine plan, since today is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. The angels are neither male nor female. Since they are pure spirits, they do not possess the bodily traits of gender (see Heb 1:13-14, CCC 328, CCC 330), even though in the Scriptures angels appear as males as in the cases of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
The Greek word, angelos, is defined as angel. Angels are pure created spirits who have superior intellects and firm wills. God created the angels good, but some chose to disobey God and were banished from heaven, as I said above (read Revelation 12:7-12). There are nine choirs of angels: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels. We know they exist because they are spoken about in Public Revelation (Holy Scriptures) – Psalms 90:11, Matthew 18:10 and other places.
Guardian angels are created heavenly spirits who help and guard those to whom they have been assigned. All of us have a guardian angel and even some people have two or more angels that protect them. Jesus even said when talking about children, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Even though Jewish Tradition (except for the Sadducees) and Catholic Tradition had a devotion to the angels, it was not until the 17th century when Pope Clement X officially declared the devotion to the guardian angels as valid.
Theologians believe that all human beings have a guardian angel – baptized or non-baptized. It is also believed that guardian angels don’t get a new assignment when our life is through. They enter into the heavenly kingdom with us. Some might ask if they would enter into Hell. I would speculate no since Hell is a place is that is completely devoid of God and his goodness. Once a soul is in Hell, there is no leaving. It’s a choice to be there. While here on earth, our guardian angels never leave us, even if we tell them to do so. I experienced this before where people said to their guardian angels – you go and pray before Jesus in Adoration while I study. Ah yeah – not happening!
Their primary position is to act as a mediator between God and man. The angels are mentioned in wide range of scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments. The amount of angels is gigantic and the scriptures speak of them as “a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand” (see Dan 7:10; Ps 67:18). In Marian Theology, one of the titles for the Blessed Mother is Queen of the Angels.
The Guardian Angel prayer is often a prayer that many children are first taught by their parents as they go to sleep for the night. It is a simple prayer, but one we should all know.
Categories: Catholicism, Saints & Angels
A couple of years ago a friend of mine was reading a book about angels and it said that your guardian angel, in addition to being a mediator between you & God, will act as kind of your “public defender” when you die, giving a clear witness to all of your deeds. We haven’t been able to reidentify the book, but I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of that…
Hi Elizabeth – I have never heard of that before. I speculate that there is some truth to it, but I can’t be certain for sure. I wonder if Dr. Peter Kreeft talks about it in his book. If I find that answer, I will post it here for you.
Did you like my posting today? Hope you will check out my series – “Mondays with Mary” and share my blog with your friends.
I’ve always had a devotion to the angels, but I don’t like the depictions of them in Western art. With a few exceptions, they are portrayed as sweetly effeminate looking and not at all like the beings, who in scripture always proceed their message by saying “Do not be afraid”.
I have an icon of St. Michael on my work area, He is in armor with a sword and looks like he could take on evil and send it packing.
“There was a great battle in heaven before the world was created (see Revelation 12:7-12).” ??? I’m afraid I don’t follow.
I know that [Puritan] John Milton wrote this sequence of events, but it does not at all match what God’s word says- and He should know! Important clues are found in Job. Note that Job is a very old story; most scholars agree it was set down from an inspired oral account by Moses at about the time he wrote the book of Numbers.
At Job 1:6 Douay, Moses writes what Job could not know at the time: “Now on a certain day, when the sons of God came to stand before the Lord [in Heaven], Satan also was present among them.” And Job 2:1 is like unto it.
At Job 38: 4,7 ibid, Job said that Jehovah himself asked the four men: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding … when the morning stars praised me together, and all the sons of God made a joyful melody?”
Therefore, the order of creation given here is, first the universe, then the angels, then the earth. And the angels- “sons of God”; “morning stars”- applauded as the earth was built. Then, as the Genesis story has it, living, mortal, creatures were created to inhabit it, ending with Adam himself. Genesis 1 and 2. Gen 3 introduces Satan, who has knowledge of The Command, as does Eve. (Gen 3:2)
An important question is raised: Was Satan put on the Earth for some reason BEFORE the account at Rev 12? If not, then Gen 3 and Rev 12 must refer to the same incident at the same period of time. This is not likely, again from the Bible record:
(a) Rev 12 says “And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world.” Succeeding verses show that this must have been in our much more recent past, since the “brethren” whom he accused [cf. Job 1:9 ff and 2:4 ff] are humans: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony: and they loved not their lives unto death.”
(b) There is a complex passage at Ezek 28, beginning “And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Son of man say to the prince of Tyre:” There’s no doubt that its first application is to a human prince; the Tyrians’ historical personality and actions match the arrogance, greed and violence decried by the prophet. However, vv. 12 ff cannot rightly apply to a human, living typically “threescore and ten years”.* But there are a great many scholars who see this as a second application to Satan, IF he is seen to have been given the privilege of serving Jehovah as a watchperson over Eden. (Cf Gen 3:24) This view allows the rest of the Biblical order of creation to harmonize, and puts Rev 12 in the same time frame as most of the rest of that book: In John’s future, and in our immediate past or near future at the latest.
My view? “Malt does more than Milton can to justify God’s ways to man.” And God’s word does more than Burns’. 🙂
* (“You were in the pleasures of the paradise of God … You a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set you in the holy mountain of God, you have walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day of your creation, until iniquity was found in you.”)