Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Angels Among Us

Now that we’ve defined angels according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, it’s time to reflect on where they live and what (or how) they do what they do. After all, “…the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.” (CCC pg. 97)

Angels are sent by God as protectors of those who have faith. “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 pg. 98)

Whoa! So does that mean there are spirits roaming around us? As a matter of fact, it does. Christ is fully body, blood, soul, and divinity. People are body, blood, and soul. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, but that doesn’t make us God or divine. Our bodies are vehicles that allow us to live as images of Christ on earth.

Since our role in life is very significant, enough so that Jesus denied His God-head to become one of us, and even more so that He chose to die as a common criminal not only for all of us, but for each one of us individually, it makes sense that God in His mercy, would give us every help possible to be successful in our journey back to Him.

That being said, angels guard and protect us. Examples of this can be seen throughout the Bible. Some of the more popular stories are when angels announced the Birth of Christ, told Joseph to flee from Egypt, and warned the three Magi to travel a different road.

Angels are present throughout the Bible. They can be found in the Old Testament at the entrance to the Garden of Eden, walking with Isaac through the desert, and assisting the prophets. In the New Testament, references to angels are found in the Gospels, Acts of Apostles, and Book of Revelation. Sometimes they appear physically to relay their message; at other times, they guide without being seen.

We are not alone to figure out the journey of our faith. We do not need to feel isolated, afraid, or guilty as we make our way home to the Lord. These things are not from God or angels. And they will never overcome the power of either, if we don’t let them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Catholic Catechism: The Existence of Angels

I’ve never questioned the existence of angels, having learned to call upon my guardian angel at the earliest stages of childhood. Do you remember the very popular prayer? “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love entrust me here. Ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide, Amen.”

I pictured this little invisible person sitting on my shoulder, shaking its head in agreement or dismay with my thoughts and actions. His name was Angel, and he would help me lead a virtuous life, if I let him. The Catholic Church has a slightly different definition of angels. It affirms that they are created spiritual beings, and their role is to be servants and messengers for the greater glory of God. It also defines them in essence, as God’s army.

Much like soldiers work together to serve their country, angels were created to serve Christ. “From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels…They will be present at Christ’s return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgment.” (CCC pg. 97)

Just as soldiers have their own individual names and ranks, so do angels. Angel is an office (or job title) in the army of God. They are spiritual in nature, and live to enlighten us about the will of our creator.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All That Is Seen and Unseen

We believe in all that is seen and unseen. Ah, perhaps that’s why circumstances have a way of changing our plans when we least expect it. And yet, it gives us pause as we find a reason to hang onto hope and believe in things way beyond our knowledge or comprehension. It’s not that difficult really, when you think about it logically.

Do we need to know the intricate details of digestion to benefit from the food we eat? How do we learn that some food is bad for us, if not through the experience of our systems responding negatively? Sin has a negative effect on society, but more than that, its impact reaches far beyond what is seen and acknowledged when it happens.

The spirit of sin (that which cannot be seen) permeates throughout the world, infecting everything it touches. The effects are seen and often acknowledged, but rarely attributed to their true source. The symptom is often treated without learning its true cause, and sometimes hinders its rightful remedy from being discovered.

We believe in all that is seen and unseen, in everything that exists, and we are bound by faith because of it. We trust in the wisdom of the saints, the power of Heaven, and we cannot refute the impact of sin, or the consequences it imposes on us. Nor can we deny the Mercy of God which alone has the power to conquer evil in our midst.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Man’s Justice: God’s Will vs. Our Will

I had a dream early this morning that has me thinking about many things, but especially about good vs. evil, and how it seems a lot of people get away with stuff, even when by all accounts, they shouldn’t. Our Catholic Catechism teaches that everything comes from love and God’s will triumphs over all. How are we to respond to this faith that requires so much from us?

As much as we stand up for truth and justice, we also are tempted to sin when doing so. Isn’t that what happened when they crucified the blasphemer, none other than Christ, our Savior? At what point do we accept our own inability to love as we are loved? Do we need proof that our actions bring about the change we try to create by them? Or do we accept the will of God, even if it doesn’t agree with our own? And if God’s will is different from ours, how do we respond?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catholic Catechism: Trusting God to Change Evil into Good

I have to admit, I struggle with this next lesson of the Catholic Catechism. It is simply stated, “We firmly believe that God is the master of the world and its history.” (CCC pg. 93) I think we all know God is our creator, but do we have enough faith, and it doesn’t require very much, to accept Him as the answer to our fate?

People struggle with good and evil all the time. We even do evil deeds on the pretense of changing things for the better, and serving God faithfully. This is my biggest issue. How can we bring harm to others in the name of serving God and doing His will? My answer is that we can’t, and therefore must actually be bringing judgment on ourselves. This probably means we are blinded by pride in the process, which is about as bad as it gets if you ask me.

Of course we can’t live in a vacuum either. We must plow through the challenges of life facing them head on, and that is too often the cause of our sinfulness. Again I struggle…

Do we trust God enough to believe that He will save us, when in spite of our love for Him we make the wrong decisions, thereby sinning against Him? Look no further than the wood of the cross, dear friend. And see the victim whose death has reconciled the world to Himself. Now that was as evil as it gets, crucifying God, and yet salvation was born from the sinfulness of man.