Angels are Awesome
Jesus mentions that when we enter into the glory of God’s Kingdom, that we “are like angels” (Lk 20:36). Many Catholics have some misunderstandings about Angels. Some erroneously believe that we become Angels when we die. We do not become angels, angels were created as angels, though God allows those who die in Christ to enjoy immortality, to join the angels in praising him forever, we still maintain our human nature. Angels were created as angels. The mention of Angels in this week’s gospel provides an opportunity to share some angel facts:
Angels are fiercely awesome creatures. They wield powerful weapons to serve the glory of God. They are not cute, fat babies. They are truly awesome. When people encounter angels in the scriptures, they are filled with fear and often fall to the ground, believing that they are seeing God himself. Angels are more terrible, fierce and powerful than anything we can imagine.
And yes, they are real. This is an article of faith for Catholics as taught by the Catechism “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.” (CCC 328) They were created by God to minister to him. And yes, there are also fallen angels, those who have turned away from God and seek to drive man away from him. Jesus himself testifies that he saw the devil and his angels fall from heaven (Lk 10:18). We must acknowledge that there are both good and bad angels.
We also acknowledge that God has placed at least one Angel in charge of every human being. Angels wishing to do God’s will, will help to guide and protect us. They pray for us and can intervene on our behalf. “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.” (Ps 91:11) And they are good advocates to have. Their intellect is more brilliant than Einstein, Steven Hawking, Socrates, and Shakespeare combined. They can move the heavens and the earth if God permits. Their powers are far beyond that of any fictional character that pen could ever describe.
Angels are keenly aware of us, though we do not see them. They join us at Mass as we praise God, they fall in prostrate before the altar of God, revering our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Singing his praise, when we do so, we join with them.
In this world we need the Angels that serve God to come to our aid. Recognizing this, in 1886, pope Leo XIII asked that the prayer to St. Michael be added to the end of every low Mass. Michael, being venerated as the “Prince of the Angels” is revealed to have command over God’s army. Unfortunately, the uniform practice of this prayer fell out of place in the age following the Second Vatican Council. In September of last year, given the state of the Church, Pope Francis asked that we revive and pray this ancient prayer. Out of obedience to the Holy Father, and in response to the apparent state of the Church and acknowledging our own need for the assistance of the Angels, we have reclaimed the practice of saying this prayer at the end of every Mass at St. Elizabeth Seton.