Friday, September 28, 2007

ENTERTAINING ANGELS UNAWARES

The prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel is not a sweet prayer. It needs to be read with PASSION! “Defend us against the wickedness and snares of the Devil! May God RUBUKE him! (we humble pray) and do thou, Oh! Prince of the heavenly hosts, THRUST into hell . . .”

We don’t take angels nearly seriously enough. They get relegated to clouds with harps or gently helping two German kids across a rickety bridge. For Catholics belief in angels is an article of faith. Feast days are celebrated in their honor. Tomorrow will be the feast of the archangels, and October 2nd is the feast of guardian angels. They are not cute, benign little creatures that simply like to sit on top of our Christmas trees or at the bottom of ornate, gilded frames. They are powerful beings that effect the created order; a cosmological principle, a dynamic and mysterious factor in reality.

Interestingly, the word “angel” does not denote who they are, but what they do. They are spirits. Angel comes from the Greek word angelos meaning messenger. They are God’s messengers to us. Satan and his cohorts were created spirits that acted as God’s messengers too, but were in essence “fired” (pun intended) and so you find we rarely refer to Lucifer as an angel except to say that he is a fallen angel.

In the New Testament angels are guardians, protectors, members of the Divine Court, healers, worshipers, agents of destruction, companions of Christ, and witnesses to the events of salvation. They are our aids and friends and act as messengers of God. Scriptures recognize nine groups or (as St. Ambrose began to refer to them) choirs of angels with an established hierarchy. We know that these ranks exit but not what necessarily makes the demarcations.

Their primary purpose is to be present to our Lord and minister to Him, regulate the order of the world and be His messengers to man in His plan of salvation. To that end they occasionally appear to humans and when they do (and once again we don’t know why) they appear as young androgynous boys.

Lastly, Scriptures testify that there are angels assigned to assists us, what we call Guardian Angels. They are intimately tied to our lives and it is not a bad idea to ask for their intercession, especially your guardian angels and to remember to be grateful for their service.

ANGEL QUIZ:

1. Can you name the nine choirs of angels?
2. From which Choir is St. Michael?
3. Form which choir do guardian angels come?
4. What does the name Lucifer mean?
5. Do angles have free will?

ANSWERS TOMORROW

15 comments:

Rob said...

As usual, my knowledge is partial:

1. I know at the top are the archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Ringo). Then seraphim and cherubim. Are powers and principalites in there, or are they the bad guys?

2. St. Michael is an archangel

3. Don't know. (Cherubim or seraphim?)

4. Morning Star.

5. Well, angles do not have free will. Isosceles is always isosceles, equilateral is always equilateral and so on.

Angels, however, do have free will.

Fr. V said...

LOL!

Took me a second but I got it!

Jeron said...

1. Angels; Archangels; Powers; Principalities; Dominions (?); Cherubim; Seraphim; Thrones; and I don't know who I'm missing.

2. Archangel

3. You got me.

4. Yes, they have free will. (As an aside, I've read on another blog that once humans die & enter eternity, we lose our free will. Is that true?)

Jeron said...

Oh, I messed up my numbering. My answer to #4 should be "Light-bearer" and, well, last comment is #5. :)

uncle jim said...

you're all angels to me!

Father Kyle said...

I think Jeron missed 'Virtues' in his answer to number 1

4) Light Bearer (hence candle bearers at Mass are also 'Lucifers'

5) I argue that no, they do NOT have free will as mankind does, as they have to do the bidding of their Creator, and once they make up their mind to reject Him (which was done at their own creation), that decision cannot change. Hence, Lucifer is now the Adversary/Satan/Devil and no longer the harbinger of Christ, the Light.

Rob said...

Actually, according to Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica Q59, Article 3) angels have 'free choice'.

However, I could swear that somewhere else the Angelic Doctor agrees with Father Kyle (indeed, that is what I was expecting to find when I looked it up). I am not sure the language here (free choice) is equal to 'free will'.

uncle jim said...

come on, rob...go for the juglar - go for the kill. tell us that aquinas said it and you believe it and that's that! Nuff said, AMEN!

Adoro te Devote said...

1 Choirs of Angels:
1.Seraphim
2.Cherubim
3.Thrones
4.Dominions
5.Virtues
6. Powers
7.Principalities
8.Archangels
9. Angels
(btw: I CHEATED on this part)
http://www.catholic.org/saints/anglchoi.php

2. Michael is an Archangel

3. Guardian Angels come from the "lowest" choir

4. Lucifer is "Morning Star"

5. Angels DO have free will, but they do NOT have an opportunity for redemption. It is their free will that causes 1/3 of the angels to fall from the heavens. Angels were created with the same free will as that given to man, but as they were created under different circumstances and for a different purpose, they cannot be redeemed. They were already given that option, and chose "Non sirve!" (Um, the quote is wrong...it's a blend of Latin and Spanish. I ALWAYS DO THAT! Will someone please give me a Latin lesson?)

For the record, I only cheated on the first answer. The rest is by memory or imperfect understanding.

Anonymous said...

I believe "Morning Star" refers to Mary. And I believe "Lucifer" means Light-bearer.

(JM)

tara said...

I just taught this last week in third grade catechism.

1. I agree with adoro on the list of GOOD angels in order from highest to lowest.

2. Archangel

3. Angel (lowest choir)

4. Lucifer means light bearer.

5. Angels are creatures who God created with free-will, God tested them and one-third messed-up and failed the test, now they help Satan tempt and torment us--and lately some of them are doing a very good job at evil.

Your quizes are fun.

Anonymous said...

The list of Angels (lowest to highest) is also in the Novena to St. Michael (powerful prayer!).

Sidebar -

Last night in our Light Weigh meeting, Suzanne Fowler was explaining the aparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe...amazing!!!

She also mentioned, in a side comment, that Satan has been around since the beginning and with each passing generation, he has learned how mankind overcomes temptation...and then in the next generation, improves upon his tactical efforts based on this information.

I always knew (Catechism teachings & Scripture) that Satan has been around since the beginning...but I had never thought about how Satan would improve his tactics in each passing year, decade, generation, etc...but it makes sense.

How much more fervent and planted (like the good seed parable read in last Sunday's gospel) we need to be in our faith, right now, & teach our children, godchildren, etc. to become more so in theirs. We need to improve our tactical efforts to overcome Satan's temptations each day, year, etc.

We also need to call upon our Guardian Angels for guidance (daily - sometimes hourly) and ask God to send a Legion of Angels to us during times of struggle.

Okay - my mind is going to constantly ponder this for the rest of the day & I'm sure the week. Lillian Marie

uncle jim said...

and I feel like he [Satan and his minions] has been practicing on me overtime. like james advises, i fight him and he flees for awhile, but boy he comes back fast.

i need to learn how to 'armor up' a little better. i haven't had as much practice as Satan, but it seems logical that my angel has, and should be better at helping me from year to year, too.

Adoro te Devote said...

uncle jim, ~ You TOTALLY need to read Jordan Aumann....all about that! How Satan renews his attacks. We overcome one temptation, and we are left in peace...but he's only gathering for a renewed assault. It never ends.

That's why God gave us Confession. Made use of it today...His Mercy is boundless.

But you know...even during my adoration hour today I was attacked! Right there in front of Jesus, having gone to confession this morning

Satan has no boundaries, has no shame, and has no dignity.

Just realized you sent me the Auman book...and now you need to read it! (I've already highlighted and underlined it to death with required reading...what a treasure this is!)

uncle jim said...

and i believe it is out of print ... or i'm thinking of some other such