Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels, especially the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel, along with Gabriel and Rafael. Their very names derive from the name of God, “El” in Hebrew. Micha-el means “who is like God,” his war cry to rally God’s hosts—whom can we serve other than God, for who is like unto Him? Gabri-el means “the strength of God” and Rafa-el “the healing of God.” On Wednesday, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, to whom our Gospel refers today: “I say to you,” Jesus says of the little children, “that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly father.” Those who do not respect children, or any “little ones” who are pure of heart, should keep in mind that, though children may look defenseless, an angel of unspeakable power hovers just above them with drawn sword. One should fear scandalizing, abusing, or even treating them with impatience out of simple self-preservation. “Better,” Jesus says, “to be cast into the ocean with a millstone lashed about one’s neck than to corrupt a child.” Jesus loves the little children. Who preys on children? As the media constantly reminds us, a small percentage of Catholic priests prey on children. In addition to these, however, just about everyone in the entertainment industry makes a good part of their living corrupting children, and all of these will wish they had respected the frailty of a child’s innocence when their guardian angels lay hold of them.
The Catechism tells us in paragraph 336: “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” I consecrated myself to the guardian angels some years ago and renew my consecration each day with this prayer:
Holy Guardian angel, you continually behold the face of our Father in Heaven. God has entrusted me to you from the very beginning of my life. … I beg you: protect me from my own weakness and from the attacks of the wicked spirits. Enlighten my mind and my heart, that I may always know and accomplish the will of God. Lead me to union with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
“Enlighten my mind,” I pray each day. Angels are pure spirits, and so understand truth intuitively, not needing to arrive at truth through a laborious exercise of the senses. Again, from the Catechism number 330: “as purely spiritual creatures, angels have intelligence and will. They are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.” Consider the most excellent created being imaginable: the body and soul of a great hero, such as we study here in the Greek epics. Imagine the intellect and imagination of a great mind, such as Socrates or Einstein. Consider the heart and will of a great saint, such as Augustine or Aquinas. Imagine any other thing of beauty that amazes us: a spiral galaxy 300,000 light years across, the pacific ocean whose depths dwarf anything we know on earth. Angels surpass in perfection all of these created things. Each angel is a distinct species of itself, and it far surpasses any other species in the visible world.
Angels Help us to Adore Him
There are nine choirs of angels: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Archangels, Principalities, and Angels. Angels help us “to adore Him,” in the words of the traditional hymn: “You behold him face to face.” The principle role of the highest choir (the Seraphim), in fact, is to incessantly cry out the Trisagion hymn found in Apocalypse 4:8: “Holy Holy Holy” we too sing at every Mass. At this Mass, know that myriads upon myriads of Seraphim worship with us.
If we at TAC wish to “carpe veritatem,” we should pray each day to the angels to help us know God and the whole of his creation: to know Him, in order to love Him, in order to serve Him. Your guardian angel not only protects you from physical danger, but defends you from intellectual harm. I recommend praying to your guardian angel every day, as we already pray to St. Michael every day, to defend us in battle, to help us know God and the things of God, so as to love Him, to serve him, and to be with him forever in the life of the world to come.