If you hear the word “angels” you may instantly think about those cherub winged babies. Probably you picture large winged humans dresses in white, watching over you from above.
While these are wonderful images of these mystical creatures, God created angels for a much larger mission.
Father John Horgan sets out to describe the mystery of angels in His Angels at Our Side: Comprehending Their Power in Our Souls and the World. He writes about how God designed them to assist in carrying out the mission of Jesus and shows us how we can use these messengers from God to assist in directing us in our earthly journey.
Here are six amazing facts about these heavenly hosts:
1. If they could, angels would envy us
We may envy the angels and their nearness to God. But many mystics, saints, and spiritual authors have said if the angels could envy they would be jealous of us.
Why? “They would be jealous of us because we have a likeness to Christ, the Son of God that they do not have. We can be like Him in His sufferings; we can bear our crosses in union with the Cross of Jesus,” writes Father Horgan. “But there is something even grander about the human experience the angels would envy if they were capable of such a vice: the ability to receive Holy Communion – to be united to Jesus in His Eucharist Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.”
2. Angels were part of the first day of creation
From Genesis to Revelation, angels are mentioned is Sacred Scripture more than 230 times. They’re always fulfilling the mission God sent them on.
Saint Augustine recommended that the angels were created during the first day during the creation of the “Heavens” or “light”, which is distinctly different from “earth” and the creation of man.
3. There are nine groupings of angels
Grouped in threes (like the Trinity), each group of angles does threefold work: adoring the Lord, doing the Lord’s will and mediating communications between Him and us. Here’s how the nine groups of angels break down:
Seraphim are the closest to God and literally on fire with the love of God. Even their name means “burning ones”!
The name ‘Cherubim’ means “all knowing one”. “They constantly contemplate the wisdom and the love of God in His relationship with mankind,” Father Horgan described. They were also the first adorers of the first covenant.
Thrones are “raised up to form the seat of God’s authority and mercy.” A literal seat of God.
Dominions control the government of the universe and coordinate the ministries of all the angels who deal with creation.
Virtues “have an innate, raw power over the physical universe,” explains Father Horgan.
Powers are thought to “introduce a man to the higher mysteries while repressing the attacks of the hostile powers of Hell.”
Princes and Principalities are the guardians of all nations.
There are thought to be seven archangels (one for each day of creation and seven sacraments). They have a unique place in God’s plan. They are leaders and have power in the heavenly realm.
Lastly, the choir of angels are “beloved because the Lord places them at our sides to watch over us and to care for us. They defend us against harm and temptation. They warn us of impending evil and inspire us to remain faithful to God in prayer.”
4. All angels had a trial of faith
Even though not written in Sacred Scripture, the early Fathers of the Church and many theologians believe that all of the angels were also given a choice to follow God faithfully (free will).
God showed them that Christ would become a man, “ nature lower than angels that would mean they would have to adore God in a form lowlier than their own.” God gave them a choice to cooperate with His plan or not to accept it.
Angels were only given one chance to make this choice and sadly because the angels understand the whole truth, there is no redemption for them if they decide to reject God. We, on the other hand, have the privilege of redemption through Reconciliation because of Christ.
5. Lucifer’s fall was because of his pride
Lucifer’s name literally means “light bearer of God”. But he did not God’s plan and turned his gaze inward on his own beauty.
We find Saint John’s vision of this battle written in Revelation. With the sweep of his tail, Lucifer cast a third of the angels to earth. Archangel Michael stepped up and led the epic fight between good and evil. This battle ultimately ended with the devil and everyone who follows him falling into the fiery lake for all eternity.
6. You can grow closer to God through the angels
We can utilize the nature of angels to grow closer to God. Father Horgan writes about habits that respect the truth by discovering God’s sovereignty. He inspires readers to constantly offer sacrifices through constant awareness of the presence of God.
Another way we can deepen our relationship with God is to offer our work, challenges, and issues to Him. We also should use the example of prayer that the angels give us, singing constantly, “Holy, holy, holy.”
His Angels at Our Side: Comprehending their power in our souls and the world by Father John Horgan clearly and beautifully explains these heavenly hosts and displays us their role throughout Salvation History including the future final battle against the devil himself.
Today, ask the angels to guide you, intercede for you, and to protect you from all evil.