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Sunday, October 9, 2011

From the Pastor - 'The Holy Angels'

A weekly column by Father George Rutler.


Many babies are being baptized here in this month dedicated to the Holy Angels. Infants have not had time for the world to weary them into boredom, and so human faces are as fascinating to them as angel faces, and a candle is as astonishing as lightning. By their childlike gift of wonder, saints avoid the childishness of cynics, who contradict themselves by wondering why anything should be wonderful. 



On the Feast of the Guardian Angels, Pope Benedict XVI said: "The Lord is always nearby and always there throughout the history of humanity, and He also accompanies us through the presence of His Angels." The Pope speaks as the Vicar of Christ, Whose Birth was announced by angels, Who was comforted by angels after His Temptation in the wilderness and His Agony in Gethsemane, Whose Resurrection was announced by angels, and Who had angels tell the disciples after His Ascension to pray instead of staring at the sky. The Pope is a scientist of the soul and, as any true scientist, he is bravely childlike. That is a requirement for discovery. Newton was sufficiently childlike to notice gravity at work. The modern theory that the speed of light is constant and unsurpassable has just been challenged by a claim that neutrinos have been capable of traveling faster. That is beyond me mentally and physically, and it would be childish of me to say that this is true or false, but I do find it wonderful. As angels have an IQ incalculably greater than that of those humans who know more about neutrinos than I do, we must respect them. 

Angels can be everywhere. They have no size as we measure things, and so they are vaster than galaxies. This fact is distorted by depictions of them as children with wings. They sometimes appear to us, but in disguise, usually as people, because to see them directly could be overwhelming. What we call angels are the lowest in the order of these pure spirits, and their job is to communicate heavenly information to us. They know God's will, but they only know our thoughts when we pray to them. Since they are pure intelligence, no words are necessary: just thinking about them suffices. 

The fallen angels want us to deny the existence of holy angels. Lucifer, like his fellow evil spirits, is miserable with himself. He turns his own name inside out so that the Light Bearer becomes a Bearer of Darkness. He lies, saying that the childlike are childish, and he spreads his darkness by trying to destroy children and saints. But the Word made Flesh, who was "seen by angels” (1 Tim. 3:16), has the last word: "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). 



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