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.