Studies: The Angels

Joannes Paulus II

The angels.

[The first publication of Joannes Paulus The Great's assay - 1980. The text given here was taken from: "Angels from the Vatican" by Allen Duston, O.P., and Arnold Nesselrath, Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia, 1998. ]

From the first pages of the Book of Genesis to the last pages of the Book of Revelation, Sacred Scripture testifies to the existence and activity of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings we call "angels".
They belong to the realm of eternity, where they are God's servants and messengers: the " mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word" (Ps. 103:20; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 329).

Above all, the angels serve the saving Plan of the Incarnate Word. An angel annoumces the Saviour's coming. Choirs of angels hail his birth. Angels protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, and proclaim his resurrection to the astonished women at the emply tomb (cf. ibid, 333). Angels watch over the first community of the Lord's disciples and intervene to guide and guard Peter and the others. They accompany God's people on their pilgrim way to the Father's house. They will be present at Christ's return, when the "Son of Man will come in his glory," and all the angels with him" (Mt. 25:31).

In her Liturgy and devotion, the Church confesses her faith in the angels, and invokes their help and protection. She venerates their memory with special Feastday. Christian art and literature are full of angels' stirrings.

Through the angels, the invisible world plays a vital - though hidden - role in the visible world of man's history. The fallen angels tempt us away from our filial inheritance. The good angels, our friends and allies in every suitalble action done for God and neighbour, lead us on the path of holiness, justice and peace with every other being. Each one of us has a gurardian angel, our silent and discreet counselor, whose intercession and watchrul care bring us immeasurable assistance in facing he challenges of life.

May the members of the Church know the angels better and love them more. May each one of us cherish the friendship of the angel who is at our side "to light, to guard, to rule and guide." May we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as they praise God's glory for ever: Holy, holy, holy Lord of power and might!

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