September 26th

As this month of September draws to a close and we begin October, we have two feast days in the liturgical calendar related to the Angels.  On September 29th we have the feast day of three Archangels: Ss. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael; and on October 2nd we have the feast of the Guardian Angels.

Angels fascinate many people in our modern culture.  Our culture also has some rather strange ideas about Angels.  I thought it might be helpful to reflect upon the Angels as we prepare to celebrate these two feast days.

The word “Angel” means “messenger”.  God created Angels at the beginning of time.  They are spiritual beings, and hence do not have bodies (although they can appear in human form).

In popular culture the idea is sometimes conveyed that people become Angels when they die.  This is simply a misunderstanding.  Angels are a different kind of being from humans.  Angels are pure spirits; human beings are made up of body and soul.  When a human being dies, their soul is separated from their body, but that person’s body will be resurrected at the end of time.  That is what we mean when we say in the Creed every Sunday that we “look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

Angels stand before the throne of God in Heaven and they ceaselessly sing His praises.  The primary task of the Angels is to glorify and serve God.  The secondary task of Angels is to intercede for and assist us.

Every single human being has an Angel to help them.  This is what is traditionally known as the “Guardian Angel”.  We can ask our Guardian Angel to pray for us and assist us.  Our Guardian Angel is there to help us; their desire is that we join them in Heaven.

In the Mass, we join our voices to the voices of the Angels as we sing praise to God.  In the funeral liturgy, we ask the Angels to lead the soul of the deceased to Heaven.

The term “Archangel” is used to denote an Angel that has had an exceptionally important message.  The names of the three Archangels that we will celebrate this week are all found in Scripture.  Saint Raphael is the Angel sent to help Tobiah on his journey in the Book of Tobit.  Saint Michael is found in a few books in the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation.  In the Book of Revelation we hear of how Saint Michael engages in battle with the Devil (which is why Saint Michael is often invoked for protection).  Saint Gabriel appears in the Old Testament, but we are all probably most familiar with this Archangel’s appearance to Our Lady at the Annunciation.

The Angels are powerful intercessors for us.  Let us remember, to ask them for their prayers and for their assistance.

God bless,

Father White

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