IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ANGELS
By Fr. Abe Arganiosa
On Sept. 29 the Church remembers the Feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael; then on Oct. 2 that of Guardian Angels. These Feasts explain the Article of Faith: “I believe in God… creator of all things, visible and invisible” [cf. Col 1:16]. These angels are purely spiritual in nature: “God makes His angels winds, and his servants flames of fire” [Heb 1:7]. They are so numerous and comprise the heavenly armies whose primary duty is to praise God unceasingly [Dan 7:10/ Rev 5:11]. St. Thomas Aquinas explains that due to their rational yet non-bodily nature they are more powerful than us and not subject to human frailties.
The Bible teaches that some of these creatures rebelled against God; in punishment they were banished from heaven and became demons [Rev 12:7]. St. Michael led the faithful angels in victory over the Devil [Rev 12:8-9]. The Fathers of the Church add that when Lucifer defiantly declared: Non serviam! [I will not serve] St. Michael responded: Serviam! [I will serve]. Pride vs Humility, Rebellion vs Fidelity. This explains why we invoke St. Michael’s protection against Satan and evil spirits. We call him especially at the moment of death following St. Jude Thaddeus that St. Michael fought for the body of Moses against the Devil [Jude 1:9] and he is doing so for every soul consecrated to the Lord. By leading the faithful St. Michael is called The Prince of the Heavenly Host and Commander of the Lord’s army. Being the chief protector of God and of heaven he is also the guardian-protector of both Israel [Dan 10:20] and the Church [Dan 12:1] – The People of God.
Scriptures attest that there are seven major angels [Rev 1:4/ Rev 8:2] directly serving in front of the Almighty but only three have been named, the other two is Raphael the guardian angel of Tobiah [Tob 12:15] and Gabriel the Announcer of the Birth of the Messiah [Lk 1:26].
The doctrine about the Guardian Angel is solidly Biblical. During the Exodus Journey from Slavery to the Promise Land God sent forth His angel to guard and guide His People: “The angel of God, who had been in front of the army of Israel, moved and went to the rear” [Ex 14:19]. God Himself promised: “I will send an angel ahead of you to protect you as you travel and to bring you to the place which I have prepared” [Ex 23:20]. The protective presence of the angels didn’t end with the occupation of the Land, instead it became a lasting manifestation of God’s love for us: “God will put his angels in charge of you to protect you wherever you go” [Ps 91:11]. When Jesus handed on the fullness of faith the more we understand the importance of Angels in our spiritual life. Going deeper, each of our souls are protected by angels…from childhood: “See that you don’t despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in heaven” [Mt 18:10]. Thus, our catechesis to the children that they are under the protection of a guardian angel is from Jesus himself.
It is no wonder that the Church daily reminds us that we are not alone. We are in the company of Angels and Saints. We are surrounded by clouds of witnesses [Heb 12:1] and we belong to the Church composed of Angels and Saints in worship of the Lord [Heb 12:22-24]. These angels also bring our prayers before the Throne of God most high like incense [Rev 8:3] and finally our Eucharistic worship here on earth is a participation of the Angelic Adoration in heaven as our priest proclaims in every Mass: ‘Therefore together with the Angels and the Saints we proclaim Your Glory as we say – Holy, Holy, Holy…” [Is 6:3/ Rev 4:8].
Love your Guardian Angel. Call upon St. Michael the Archangel. Give thanks to the Lord for His great love through the presence of the Holy Angels.