Holy Angels
By Petronia Laine

Holy Angels of God are very popular in our society today. The good holy angels of God deserve our attention because these spiritual beings untiringly serve God by giving Him worship, praise, honor, glory and obedience. They rejoice in the beatific vision of being face to face with God. They are God's warriors and messengers that we may be brought to salvation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). The angels were created to be with God in heaven. Lucifer became a fallen angel who rejected God and he and his followers were put to hell (2 Peter 2:4). The holy angels are ministers for God's plan of the salvation of the world. The Cherubim were placed to guard the east gate of the Garden of Eden to keep sacred the 'tree of life' after man's disobedience to God. The sacred scriptures give accounts of the role of angels of the Lord for the salvation of the world.

The Old Testament gives many appearances of angels. In the Lord's granting of Abraham's asking that the good men of Sodom be spared, two angels led Lot away from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:1-22). Later, an angel of the Lord was sent to the Egyptian slave woman named Hagar to give her God's blessing and direction in her life. Abraham proved his faith in the Lord by setting out to obey the instruction to slay his son Isaac. An angel of the Lord stayed the hand of Abraham to prevent him from slaying Isaac as he was doing in faith of God's will. After many other accounts of holy angels meeting with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, angels guided the chosen people to leave Egypt and begin their Exodus from slavery to the promised land of freedom (Ex. 23:20).

The New Testament makes known the angels working for God's plan of salvation. In the fullness of time God sent the angel Gabriel to Blessed Mary for her consent to having the Holy Child. The birth of Jesus was announced by a multitude of angels. They sang in adoration of glory proclaiming to the shepherds the birth of the Savior. And an angel ministered to Jesus during the passion in the garden of Gethsemane. An angel was present at the tomb after Christ's death to annouce that He had risen. They ministered to the apostles in the building of the Church. St. Peter was released from prison by an angel. The angels continue their role in God's plan of salvation today by appearing to many since Pentecost.

In the beginning of the 20th Century the Angel of Peace gave worship and glory to the Holy Eucharist when appearing to the three children of Fatima, Portugal, imploring them to do the same. The book of Revelation tells of angels working with God to the end of time.

Throughout the Scriptures are given verses revealing the Nine Choirs of Angels. The Cherubim are announced when to guard the tree of life, are also mentioned in Ezechiel; and they guarded the Ark of the Covenant. The Seraphim appear in the vision of Isaiah 6:6. The term archangel is given to us in Jude and 1 Thes. 4:15. St. Paul lists five more choirs in Ephes. 1:21 and Col. 1:16. A doctor the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas ranks them in a descending order: The first choirs of angels are the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. These choirs are closest to God, are identified with burning love for God and the name cherubim means 'fullness of wisdom'. The thrones contemplate God's power and justice. The second choirs of angels are Dominions, Virtues and Powers to fulfill God's providence for the universe. The dominions are of authority to govern other angels, the virtues of power and strength are to implement orders from the dominions, and the powers confront and fight evil forces against God's providence. The third choirs of angels are the Principalities, Archangels and Angels. The principalities care for the nations and cities. The archangels deliver God's messages to mankind, and each angel serves as a guardian to lead a person to God.

We should not be too concerned with the differing roles and orders of the angels. Each angel is an individual with personality and a will and is given a way of serving God in love. God may call an angel from any of the choirs to be a Guardian Angel to a person at Baptism. They are honored to witness the mercy of God in this service of guardian because they do not experience God's infinite mercy of themselves. They are in awe of the Holy Cross given to us for reparation of sin. The angels have a strong desire to lead the soul in their guidance to appear before God's throne for the soul's salvation to everlasting life in heaven. In the diary of Saint Faustina Divine Mercy in My Soul (470-472), the saint shares an intervention of one of the seven angels who stand before the Throne of God. The encounter greatly increased the longing of the Saint to be with God.

Pope John Paul II knows very well the role of angels for the whole Church. The role involves inflaming the Church with a new fire, new work, greater knowledge of love and discernment of the Holy Spirit. It is truly good to pray with the angels and give God thanks, praise and worship. 'He hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Ps. 90:2)' The angels are delighted for us to accompany them in their prayer of "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with Your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest." It is a thrice holy prayer of praise learned from the prophet Isaiah, which he heard from a Seraph. The prayer calls forth good holy angels to join in prayer of praising God. The angels rejoice in the celestial choir, of whom Jesus Christ is the center, and in salvation one's soul becomes a part of the heavenly celestial court.

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