Angels and Men
by Hugh Akins
A short treatise, supported by Scriptural references, on the sublime mission of the Blessed Angels, and the ever-present menace of the Predator Angels
We cried to the Lord, and the Lord heard our cries, and sent an angel … (Numbers 20:16)
The Catechism of the Council of Trent, in echoing the divine teachings of the divine Church, states that “By God’s providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being so as to preserve him from any serious dangers.” Catholic belief maintains that “not merely every just man, every child of grace, but in fact every single human being here upon earth, whether Christian or non-Christian, whether in grace or in sin, actually remains during its entire life under the care of a guardian angel. It suffices to describe this as absolutely certain” (Fr. Joseph Husslein, The Catholic’s Work in the World).
A most propitious subject for Catholic meditation concerns the immense importance to man of these holy guardians, the good angels. It behooves every conscientious Christian to reflect more studiously on the sublime mission
assigned to the blessed spirits, as too on the tremendous power they have been endowed
with for the specific purpose of helping us get to Heaven. There shall no evil come to thee; nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling. For He hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalms 90:11). The angel that delivereth me from all evils …(Gen. 48:16).
Man’s perpetual search for truth and struggle to find the meaning to life, personal fulfillment and the one formula for a genuine and enduring happiness, would be far less a struggle and far more gainful an enterprise were he not so disposed to habitually turn away from the one God Who is truth, light, love, perfect fulfillment and therefore perennial fount of happiness itself. Man’s life would be more properly and beneficially directed, and his plight considerably less of a burden and less character-ized by failure, bitter frustration and even des-pair, were he to make wise use of the great means made available to him by Divine pre-scription, the means which are readily and equally accessible to one and to all.
Why does man’s quest for answers and his longing for peace of mind and heart so often result in failure? Why does the restoration of Christendom seem at times an insurmountable undertaking? Why does the Catholic Church always have to be in perpetual retreat, sur-rendering more and more ground to the enemies of the Cross of Christ? The answers are glar-ingly obvious: Men are too inclined to place a more trustful reliance on themselves than on God. Is this not the very spirit behind Liber-alism, that moral and intellectual disease which is conceivably the most deadly epidemic ever to scourge the human species?
Countless are the ways and means by which the Creator reaches down to His creatures in attempting to enlighten our minds, elevate our souls, and inspire the right direction of our earthly life; in other words, in attempting to procure our absolute highest good, temporal as well as spiritual. In addition to all the other helps of divine origin, an army of angels has been consigned to assist mankind. “The Scriptures refer to myriads of angels … to legions” (Ludwig von Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma). The Fathers of Trent speak of “angels innumerable” to fortify man in the spiritual combat, to lead him out of the darkness of error, to help him in overcoming his own proclivity to vice, to deliver him from the very clutches of evil, this evil which was always rapacious and yet never before so rampant as in these Apocalyptic times.
Since the fall of our first parents and the onset of original sin, the good angels have been man’s intimate and militantly loyal even if invisible friends. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son’s wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord. And when they had heard these things, they were troubled, and being seized with fear they fell upon the ground on their face. And the angel said to them: Peace be to you, fear not. For when I was with you, I was there by the will of God. Bless ye Him, and sing praises to Him (Tobias 12:18).
In our day there is more than ever before an urgent need for man to turn to these celestial sentinels. All-out war has been declared against and is being waged upon the one God, the true religion, Sacred Tradition and what remains of Catholic Christendom, the effects of which are vividly conspicuous across the planet, shaking the very foundations of Church and civilization alike; at a time when the spiritual and social upheavals caused by the infidelity, defection and treason of so many peoples – priests and bishops and even recent popes not exempted – have spared no continent, no nation, no diocese, no family; when the abysmal depths themselves have been literally thrust open, and legions of hideous and rabid demons freed to prey upon the vast majority of vulnerable souls, left so by a stubborn and adulterating attachment to self, to the material world, and to sin in general; of such a time as today, a full and calculated awareness of the purpose and power of our blessed guardi-ans, as also a fervent lifelong devotion to them, has indeed become more critical than ever before. … Woe to the earth, and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time (Apocalypse 12:12).
Critical or not, however, the greater number of men seem to be chronically negligent in this vital practice and observance of calling upon their guardian spirits. It appears that Catholics especially have forgotten that the whole history of man’s salvation, the whole history of the creation, fall and redemption of man, is intricately interwoven with the heavenly angels. Father Paul O’Sullivan, always eloquent in his dissertations, asserts that “millions and millions of angels fill the heavens, ministering unto God, but millions and millions of angels are also here on earth, ministering unto us. They are in our midst, around us, everywhere” (All About the Angels).
The Plan of Providence
Let us consider a few of the fundament-als of this unique and necessary devotion to God’s angels.
Let us first consider the word “angel” itself, for what is implied here is nothing less than a vocation and a mission. A derivative of the Greek word angelos, angel quite simply means messenger. God’s messenger. That is why St. Isidore, writing in the 7th century, would say: “The word angel is the name of a function, not of a nature. For they are always spirits, but are called angels when they are sent” (Etymologies).
The use of the word sent similarly pre-supposes both a commission and a mission. Are they not ministering spirits, sent for service, for the sake of those who shall inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14). Always at the bidding of the Lord God Whose glory is the object of their highest advertency, the faithful angels serve as His messengers and ministers. According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, “Their function is to execute the Plan of Divine Providence, even in earthly things” (Contra Gentes). Bless the Lord, O my soul: O Lord my God, thou art exceed-ingly great. Thou hast put on praise and beauty; and art clothed with light as with a garment. Who stretchest out the heaven like a pavilion; Who coverest the higher rooms thereof with water. Who makest the clouds thy chariot; Who walkest upon the wings of the wind. Who makest thy angels spirits; and thy ministers a flaming fire (Ps. 103:1-4).
The mission of angels in the Plan of Providence is the spiritual transformation of men and social transformation of nations. It involves the reconciliation, individually first and collectively second, of the human with the Divine; the facilitation of fallen man’s return to God; as, too, man’s innermost realization of the absolute necessity – and as right thinking would have it, sheer urgency – of his complete union of mind with the one God and one Church, that is, with the Catholic God and the Catholicism of Christ. In short, it constitutes man’s determined upclimb to the Divine Life of Grace, and his uncompromising adhesion to the orthodoxy of the apostles, popes, saints and dogmatic councils of twenty centuries.
The designs of God further consist in man’s external submission to the Catholic social order. The religious duties imposed upon him are private and public alike. It is a contention of theological certainty that Christ wishes to reign over governments and nations no less than over individuals and families. This is what is meant by Our Lord’s twofold sovereignty, or the supreme sovereignty of Christ the King. A principal objective of the angelic army, in fact, is to help extend the Empire of the Holy Redeemer by laboring for the extension of His social kingship. As a shepherd watches over his flock, the angelic forces watch over both individuals and kingdoms. Of these blessed and bodiless sentinels of the Most High, St. John of Damascus says: “They are guardians of the divisions of earth; They are set over men and nations and regions allotted to them by their Creator. They govern all our affairs to bring us help. And the reason surely is because they are set over us by the Divine will and command and are ever in the vicinity of God” (Exposition of the Orthodox Faith).
So then, the Plan of Providence calls upon the angels to play a primary role in furthering the spiritual and social formation of men and nations, in man’s spirituality and orthodoxy, in his total submission to the all-encompassing governance of the Blessed Savior, which governance properly and nec-essarily oversees the things of earth no less than those of Heaven.
The Testimony of Tradition
Sacred Tradition is rich with the testimony of angelic activity – apparitions and interventions. We have learned from Holy Mother Church – from Scripture, Theology, Church History, the Magisterium, the Liturgy – that God has used the holy angels to implement His designs throughout the ages. From the time St. Michael defended the sovereignty of God against the rebellious angels led by Lucifer (Apoc. 12:7), to the time of the final judgment when the good angels will gather with Christ the elect from the four corners of the earth, the importance of these majestic creatures in the Divine Plan is eminently vital. And He [Jesus] saith to him: Amen, amen, I say to you, you shall see the heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man (John 1:51).
The whole life on earth of Our Savior was replete with angelic collaboration. The Archangel Gabriel announced the Incarnation of Jesus and the birth of His precursor, John the Baptist (Luke 1); an angel revealed the virgin birth to St. Joseph (Matt. 1:20) and urged their flight into Egypt (Matt. 2:13); and choirs of angels were heard proclaiming the birth of the Newborn King and Redeemer (Luke 2:13). Before commencing His public ministry, Our Lord was tempted by a fallen angel and subsequently attended to by the good angels (Matt. 4); early on in Christ’s passion it was an angel who came to strengthen Him (Luke 22), and angels sang the praises of His triumphant Resurrection from the dead and of His glorious Ascension into Heaven (Mark 16, Luke 24, Acts 1, Eph. 4). And who among us is not intimately familiar with the angelic salutation directed to the Mother of God (Luke 1) from which has been adopted the Hail Mary, one of Christen-dom’s most beautiful and powerful prayers?
Empowered by God, Summoned by Man
Our meditation on the blessed spirits must, perforce, focus on man’s interactive part in their supernatural ministry. It’s not enough for us to simply be aware of and to take comfort in the fact of the existence of the world of angels, and of their sacred mission in accord with the Divine Will. Man cannot really benefit by his guardian angel unless he understands that, whereas God commissions, it is he – man – who must beckon. God empowers the invisible sentinels and gives them their calling, but it is by man’s initiative and action that these warrior-spirits are actually prompted to take up arms on his behalf. St. Ambrose explains it this way:
“The servants of Christ are protected by invisible, rather than visible beings. But if these guard you, they do so because they have been summoned by your prayers” (Sermo centra Auxent). In other words, God deploys the spiritual legions to a stand-by status, but they will not fight beside us on the Christian battle-field unless we prayerfully, and with a pure heart, invoke their assistance.
What a pity it is that Catholics in gen-eral, and particularly those favored front-line souls engaged in the combats of Christ, do not have sufficient veneration for and frequent and regular recourse to their guardian angels, as well as to the patron angel of their respective countries, and to St. Michael the Archangel who, as standard bearer of the Catholic God is also both ranking centurion of the spirit world and guardian prince of the Universal Church Militant. This common disregard of the angels is a pity too because Holy Mother Church has always practiced and encouraged a fervent devotion to them. And as we’ve seen, with good reason. “According to Origen these blessed spirits aid us in all our acts of religion by uniting their supplications to ours. They carry our petitions to God and bring back to us favors and benedictions” (St. Michael and the Angels).
The good angels are indeed heavenly intermediaries – spiritual coadjutors and auxiliaries of Mary, Queen of Angels – who see in their charges souls of infinite worth since they were redeemed by the Blood of Christ; who therefore, as noted above, dedicate themselves unsparingly to our welfare, and who, with the utmost care, present our own prayers and petitions and plead our own case before the throne of the Most High Himself, offering on our behalf as well the intercessional prayers of the saints whose patronage we invite with our pious devotions. And I saw seven angels standing in the presence of God; and there were given to them seven trumpets. And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer up the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel (Apoc. 8:2-4).
Within the vast and extraordinary world of angels, there are countless millions of fallen and wicked angels, too; unclean spirits, mon-strous demons, unholy predators whose sole ambition – call it an obsession, if you will – is to disrupt at every turn the Plan of Providence, and to keep the furnaces of Hell fueled with an uninterrupted supply of human souls … the souls of unrepentant sinners, of the blamefully ignorant, of those consecrated to the service of Satan (Masons and Marxists, for example). In a word, the souls of the damned.
From the beginning the Plan of Providence has been met with a vehement resistance. A fierce and frightful infernal rebellion was born of the vile heart of the Archangel Lucifer. It was this angel’s sins of pride, disobedience and rebellion, and his masterminding of the innermost corruption of all but the most righteous and spiritually vigilant of angels and men, which has led to the mass defection and world-wide opposition to the Kingdom of God on earth that we are wit-nessing everywhere in the world today. And not even modernist Rome and the Vatican not been spared.
The spiritual master Fr. Ludovic-Marie Barrielle has provided us with an invaluable guide for distinguishing spiritual powers and influences, the good from the bad. His Rules for Discerning the Spirits, based on that timeless manual of mystical theology, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, should be required reading for all those engaged in the Christian combat. St. John warns us:
“Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God; and every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God; and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he [his spirit] is now already in the world (I John 4:1-3).
In this time of unprecedented spiritual warfare, it is not just useful but imperative that the faithful of Christ be adequately trained to differentiate between helpful and harmful powers, between ally and enemy spirits, between protector and predator angels. It’s not as simple a task as one might imagine, at least for the lax and mediocre Catholic whose lack of fervor in the practice of his religion will surely lead to an inadequate measure of grace to always distinguish between the promptings of Heaven and those of Hell.
More often than not the fallen angels are very subtle in their manipulations. Certainly they will go all out to fuel the kind of raw hatred that might lead to outright murder, but it is far more common that they fuel the much more common self-centeredness that leads to mediocrity. Of course they leave no stone unturned in their evil attempts at procuring wholesale apostasy in those of weak faith, but they are just as vehement in fostering luke-warmness among the faithful. The good and bad alike come under their never-ending attack, and it is the good, the pious, the devout, more so than the openly wicked, who are targeted for the more intense and determined assaults.
Therefore, the discernment of spirits has never been more important than in these Last Days when “the fury of the demons will increase … [when] many will depart from the Faith, giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Evidence of these very things taking place all around us today is plentiful and irrefutable. Diabolic deceptions and demonic seductions are at an all-time high. These are reflected in the frightening upsurge in recent decades of numerous demonic, esoteric and occult activities, ideologies and trends that are even advanced by many ostensibly respectable people with huge followings and even more huge bank accounts, such as, for example, the undisputed First Lady of Secular-Humanist Superficiality, Oprah Winfrey, who is often heard referring to “the Spirit”, but which, bearing no resemblance to the Spirit of the true and only God, can only be a reference to one or more of the fallen spirits whose mission is to seduce, corrupt and destroy.
At the top of the list, from where it is likely Oprah draws her inspiration, is the New Age movement, deceptively dangerous because it appears so benign, and which is disposing many to apostatize. We see, also, the moral and doctrinal aberrations and transgressions of a Catholicism of man in opposition to the Catholicism of Christ, and the proliferation of false visions, apparitions, miracles and revel-ations being reported and enthusiastically though blindly accepted by millions as coming from heaven, on an ever-increasing scale throughout the world … these and numerous other mystical phenomena, each example as bizarre as they are blasphemous, as spiritually lethal as they are doctrinally false. And each one a vivid if torrid example of the awful power and unspeakable wickedness of the enemy angels.
Shocked and alarmed by the number of even Catholic parents who permit their children to listen to the worst of rock music, I would take this opportunity to urge them to consider the extent to which Satan and his demons dominate – not merely influence, mind you, but dominate! – this intrinsically vile and devouring industry (less an industry than an aggression!) by consid-ering the following lines taken from “Holy Hell”, a song recorded by a group which, appropriately enough, goes by the name of Possessed, and copyrighted in 1985 by Combat Records (Combat against Christ?):
Holy Hell, death to us
… Satan’s fell, unholy lust;
Satan’s child, he is born
… And to death he is sworn;
Days of hate and days of pain
… Endless term of Satan’s reign.
Endless dreams, in the night
… Eternal sleep, eternal fright;
Defiled crosses, Oh Black Mass
… Satan’s reign, me at last.
There is more to the lyrics, and there are many more such satanic songs listened to by today’s youth, even, as I said, by Catholics. And yet music – or what passes today for music – is not the only means used in the diabolic scheme to seduce the minds and consume the souls of our children. Two excellent even if deeply disturbing studies on the subject are worth mentioning here. Pat Pulling’s The Devil’s Web, subtitled “Who is Stalking Your Children for Satan?”, and Texe Marrs’ Ravaged By The New Age on “Satan’s Plan to Destroy Our Kids”, are not merely worth mentioning but should be carefully read and actively promoted by every responsible pastor, parent, educator, law enforcement and mental health professional. Despite the spirit of Protestantism which admittedly underscores both books, the facts that are assembled and the warning that is issued are nonetheless too important not to be more widely known. For the truth is that the young people of today are being drawn to the angels of darkness like never before. And the Scriptures are strikingly clear that anyone – young or old – making contact with the unclean spirits will surely exact a terrible punishment from the just and wrathful Lord God:
Neither let there be found among you any one that … consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens. Neither let there be any wizard, nor charmer, nor any one that consulteth pythonic spirits, or fortune tellers, or that seeketh the truth from the dead. For the Lord abhorreth all these things, and for these abominations He will destroy them at Thy coming (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
Says the Fourth Lateran Council: “The Devil and the other demons were created good by God; but they became evil through their own fault.” Knowing “his time is short” (Revela-tions 12:12), Lucifer and his legions of fallen spirits seek to seduce as many people as possible before his final defeat. Hence “Their rage against us is accompanied with such strength that as we read in Job there is no power on earth which can be compared to it, and that the Devil fears no one. [He beholdeth every high thing. He is king over all the children of pride (Job 41:24, 25)]. All mankind united could not resist him without the special assistance of Heaven, and millions of soldiers in battle array would be to this dark spirit like a little chaff which is scattered before the wind. Therefore it is that these angels of darkness are called in Scripture ‘powers’ (Ephesians 6:12, 2:2), and that they are styled princes and rulers of this corrupt world, the greater part of men being brought by sin into subjection to their detestable tyranny” (Boudon, quoted in St. Michael and the Angels).
An Explosion of Evil Influences
In his eye-opening and somewhat troubling study, An Exorcist tells His Story, Fr. Gabriele Amorth recounts those trenchant factors which greatly influences the dramatic increase of activity, manipulation and domin-ation of evil spirits in modern times. He cites eight (my comments are in brackets):
- Western consumerism. “The majority of people have lost their faith due to a materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle [and, I might add, due as well to the great weakening of the faith by the liberal and conservative modernists who’ve seized control of the Church during and ever since the Second Vatican Council] …a good portion of the blame is to be attributed to socialism and communism… where Marxist doctrine has dominated the media and the culture in the past few years [he wrote this in 1999] …
- “We can see the proliferation, especially among the young, of spiritism, witch-craft and the occult. We can add to this the pursuit of yoga, Zen, transcendental meditation … To this I can add the exponential proliferation of many sects, many of which bear a distinctly satanic mark [two examples: Freemasonry to which many US presidents belonged, and Skull and Bones to which President Bush belongs].
- “Witchcraft and spiritism are taught on TV [shows such as Bewitched and Charmed]. Books on the occult are sold at newspaper stands and even through the mail [the Harry Potter series]. Then we can add the various collections of newspapers and horror shows. And we cannot omit mentioning the growing popularity of a type of music that is almost obsessive; I refer in particular to satanic rock.”
- “I must point out too many churchmen are totally disinterested in these prob-lems, and so they leave the faithful defenseless.”
- “…Taking most of the exorcisms out of the baptismal ritual was a grave mistake. I believe that it was a mistake to have eliminated, without a suitable replace-ment, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel that we used to recite after every Mass. I am convinced that allowing the ministry of exorcism to die is an unforgivable deficiency to be laid squarely at the door of the bishops.”
- “A grave and hardened state of sin today, unfortunately, is on the increase, with the resulting increase in the numbers of people who are victims of the Devil. At the root, the true cause is always a lack of faith. As a lack of faith increases, so does superstition.”
- “In the current environment, where we are witnessing the collapse of the family, I have encountered many cases of possessed people who, in addition to other sins, were living in irregular marriages. I have dealt many times with women whose sins included the crime of abortion. I have been confronted with numerous people who, in addition to sexual aberrations, committed other violent actions…homosexuals…drug addicts …”
- “Association with evil people and places…the practice or assisting in the practice of séances, witchcraft, satanic cults or sects – which culminate in black masses – the occult … associating with warlocks, witch doctors, or certain types of card readers.”
Fr. Amorth concludes: “These are all activities that make us vulnerable to evil spells. If we go so far as to desire a relationship with Satan [many do, as a means of satisfying some forbidden desire such as attaining great wealth, power, fame, glory or sexual indulgences], there is such a thing as consecration to Satan, the blood pact with Satan, attendance at satanic schools, and the election to the priesthood of Satan [Fr. Malachi Martin, himself an experi-enced exorcist and an eminently reliable source, confirmed that the enthronement of the Prince of Darkness by some high level churchmen that he wrote about in his novel Windswept House, actually took place simultaneously in the Vatican and in the USA].
Unfortunately, in the past fifteen years, we have witnessed an increase, almost an explosion, of these types of associations.
“It is almost redundant to say that, in all these stages, the way to healing can only begin with a sincere conversion.”
The Prayer to St. Michael
The origin of that potent prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, which, as Fr. Amorth lamented, has foolishly fallen into wide disuse in the wake of Vatican II and with the onset of the New Mass but which, Fr. Amorth neglected to mention, is still faithfully said at the end of every Traditional Latin Mass, actually came about through one pope’s frightening encounter with a diabolical presence and manifestation. Cardinal Nasalli Rocca writes:
Pope “Leo XIII himself wrote that prayer. The sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Msgr. Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the External City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with a strong, powerful voice. We heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual (1954 edition). He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day” (1946 Lenten Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Bologna).
In an age where diabolic and demonic activity has indeed virtually exploded and continues claiming ever greater numbers of unguarded victims, Catholics are well advised to recite that prayer, given to us by a great pope, every day.
Heaven’s Help More Powerful Than Hell’s Attacks
As you can see, the strength of the malignant angels is not something to take lightly. Any intelligent and objective look at this modern age of ours quite plainly reveals that its whole disposition and orientation reflect the work of these devils and demons. By right the whole of earth belongs to Christ the King. The reality, however, is that, for the time being anyhow, it remains in the death-grip of the angels of Hell. With a vengeful proficiency they are dragging scores of souls, purchased by the Blood of the Blessed Savior, into the pit of everlasting fire and torment. Yet we need not become traumatized with fear over this. Fin-ally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of His power. Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the Devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principal-ities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wicked-ness in the high places (Eph. 2:1-2, 4-6).
The man whose way is illuminated by the light of heavenly grace knows that he fights on the side of the good angels in this which is surely the deadliest of all wars. “IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW WEAK YOU ARE – HOW STRONG THE ENEMY MAY SEEM, EITHER IN NUMBER OR IN POWER. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. THE HELP YOU HAVE FROM HEAVEN IS MORE POWERFUL THAN ALL THAT HELL CAN SEND TO DESTROY THE GRACE OF GOD IN YOUR SOUL. GOD, THE CREATOR AND THE REDEEMER, IS ALMIGHTY AND MORE DESIROUS OF YOUR SALVATION THAN THE DEVIL CAN BE OF YOUR DESTRUCTION” (Fr. Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, The Spiritual Combat).
The Angel of Portugal
Sister Lucia, seer of Fatima, conveys the remarkable story of and lessons from the Angel of Fatima. “And then we began to see, in the distance, above the trees that stretched to the east, a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent, and as brilliant as crystal in the rays of the sun. As he came near we were able to see his features. We were astonished and absorbed and we said nothing to one another. And then he said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of peace. Pray with me.’
“He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.’
“After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us: ‘Pray in this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.’”
The good angel summoned the three little children of Fatima to offer many sacrifices as well, explaining “In every way you can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for sinners. In this way you will bring peace to our country, for I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, bear and accept with patience the sufferings God will send you.”
On another occasion the angel instructed the children to offer this prayer every time they receive Holy Communion: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which H is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
Additional Practical Advice
When St. Peter impulsively unsheathed his sword in a feeble attempt to prevent the Messiah’s rendezvous with His executioners and with the cross of our redemption, Jesus rebuked him saying: “Thinkest thou that I cannot ask My Father, and He will give Me presently more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). Twelve legions constitutes an army of some 70,000!
Indeed, as we have seen, the number of good angels is very great. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that it is greater than the total number of men who have ever lived and ever will live; greater even than the incalculable number of stars in the sky. And ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him … (Daniel 7:10). The very fact of their vast numbers, no less than of their power, mission and unflinch-ing resolve in directing man towards grace and then in helping them live the life of grace to its fullest, as well as in providing him with a great interior consolation along the way even as the predatory spirits of darkness ever seek to cause untold desolation of mind and soul, ought to be a source of immense encouragement to every interiorly devout and zealously active Catholic.
How reassuring it is to know that beyond this world which dares to stand against Christ, beyond the temptations of the flesh, beyond the snares of the Devil and his countless unclean spirits, beyond the sinister plots of men, secret societies and apostate nations in rebellion against God – beyond all the works of darkness conducted by the forces of Judaism, Free-masonry and Communism, beyond all this there is a higher world, a sinless world of good angels created to give glory to the Most High and to help man conquer sin, secularism and Satan … We cried to the Lord, and the Lord heard our cries, and sent an angel …(Numbers 20:16).
What follows is some practical advice regarding the pious discipline of frequent and regular supplications to our heavenly guardians:
- Pastors, following the example of St. Francis de Sales, St. Francis Xavier and many other pious souls, should invoke the help of the angels in tending to the spiritual needs of the faithful under their charge. It would be most fruitful for the clergy to employ the services of these holy protectors in every aspect of their own ministry, and especially in offering the Holy Sacrifice – always adoringly attended by numerous angels – and in distributing the Holy Eucharist, which is also called the Bread of Angels;
- Parents ought to exhort the blessed spirits to the task of guarding the inno-cence and guiding the moral, spiritual and intellectual development of their children, of creating a happy and holy homelife, and of making their home the center of an apostolate of Christ our King and Mary our Queen by those very special and most efficacious family devotions known as the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, Consecration to the Blessed Mother and the daily Family Rosary;
- Educators too should entreat the holy Guardians in their noble endeavors aimed at edifying young minds and forming future soldiers of Christ, intellectually armed, staunch in the Faith and zealous in its defense and propa-gation.
- Children, and especially those fortunate enough to have been enrolled, either by free choice or by gentle parental persuasion, in the Eucharistic Crusade, to you I say do not grow weary of communicating with your guardian angels. Never become lax in petitioning their help for a needy brother or sister, for your priests, nuns and parents, for teachers and schoolmates, for the recovery of a sick relative or the conversion of, say, a particular acquaintance who happens to be the unfortunate victim of public schooling, of trash TV, of satanic rock music, or worse yet, of a liberal or lukewarm father or mother. Call upon your angel as a special friend who will never abandon or fail you, and who will assist you most eagerly, if only asked, in making the right decision about your state in life, which decision is so essential to your eternal life.
- The Faithful are encouraged to appeal to the same angels of God in their dire need of more holy priests. There is no blessing on earth so profitable to the laity, to families, to the nations of the world, and no factor so critical to the reconstruction of both Church and Civilization, as good priests. For it is the priest who has been divinely ordained to call down from Heaven the Blessed Savior Himself in the Sacrament of Divine Love, so indispensable to the sanctity and salvation of souls, and to the well-being of entire populations – Catholic and non-Catholic alike.
Surely, today, the fact that there is, on the one hand, a severe shortage of priestly vocations and, on the other hand, a scandalous misrepresentation by so many priests of the true priestly dignity, orthodoxy and spirituality, is ample justification for thinking that we may well be living through – or at least rapidly approaching - the Great Apostasy foretold in Scripture twenty centuries ago and reaffirmed by the Blessed Mother in her Third Secret of Fatima in the 20th century, as too the period presaged by Mary better than a hundred years ago at LaSalette in which she foresaw that numerous priests would become “cesspools of impurity.” Since holy priests have never been so desper-ately needed as at the present hour, we need to turn to the angels of Catholic families with great ardor and trust, in order to nurture more holy vocations. In addition, we should be praying to those good angels to inspire in us a more fervent devotion to the Eucharistic Heart of our Blessed Savior, and to move us to a more perfect participation in the Divine Sacrifice of the altar.
- Patriots can serve their country no better than by beseeching the intercession of the holy guardians in upholding the highest interests of the commonwealth, which interests of course are ordered, first and foremost, to bringing about the true union and unity of Church and State, of religion and politics, as well as combating the opposing error, the liberalistic divorce of God and govern-ment so vehemently advocated by modern man, and which error stands as a major obstacle in preventing the bles-sings of God from raining down upon America, its government and its people.
- And lastly, Lay Apostles and every Soldier of Christ is strongly urged to summon the combat-ready warrior-spirits in the great warfare that is the Apostolate, the work of Resistance, Counterrevolution, Restoration and Reconstruction – in a word, the great Crusade of Catholic Action, combating the works of Satan and delivering souls, families, co-workers, neighbors, civil authorities and whole nations to Christ our Lord and our King.
So, then, let us not be found neglectful, none of us, in our veneration of and recourse to the angelic army of the Most High. Let us always and everywhere “beseech the holy angels whom God has given to His children as a royal body-guard … with the greatest readiness they will come to our assistance … They will undertake the fight for us and will gain for us a glorious victory … WITH FLAMING SWORDS THEY WILL STATION THEM-SELVES BEFORE THE DOOR OF OUR SOUL, AS BEFORE PARADISE, TO GUARD IN US THE TREE OF LIFE, WHICH IS GRACE …” (Matthias Joseph Scheeben, The Glories of Divine Grace).
If we have sufficient veneration of and devotion to that most holy sentinel assigned with guarding our soul, we shall find in him a most reliable ally, a powerful protector against every peril, a strong advocate at the judgment seat of God, and a wonderful companion throughout eternity. “O God, Who in wondrous order dost ordain and constitute the services of men and angels; mercifully grant that our life may be defended on earth by them that stand near Thee, evermore ministering to Thee in Heaven. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen” ((Roman Breviary).
What applies to the guardian angels applies equally to the Prince of Angels. How can we not call upon he who is Standard-Bearer of the Most Holy Trinity, who is glorious Prince of the heavenly host; Conqueror of the rebel angels; Steward of the palace of God under Jesus Christ; invincible Fortress of the Church Militant; Bulwark of orthodox believers; Strength of those who fight under the standard of the Cross; fearless Guardian of the Blessed Sacrament; Protector against the rage of Satan; Champion of the Reign of the Sacred Heart; First Defender of the Kingship of Christ; fierce Foe of Antichrist; Guardian Angel of the Holy Catholic Church; Holy Escort of the Mother of God and, through the portals of paradise, all those who persevere in grace, in prayer, in holiness and in the love and service of God.
And what applies to the great Archangel Michael applies many times more to his and our Queen. As one author put it, “Our Lady stands alone, far above every other created being. Her heavenly radiance shines clear, far surpassing the spiritual beauty of those thousands before the throne of God” (Fr. Patrick Gearon, The Litany of Our Lady). Indeed, all the hierarchies of the angelic hosts bow down in homage before Mary, Mother of Christ, for she is superior to all creatures in excellence and in dignity, in purity and in piety, in greatness and in glory, as too in office and in rank. If the sublime angels are in her service and at her command, can we sinners do any less than place ourselves, and all that we have to give – our hearts before all else – at her feet and in her service?
Everyone is encouraged to say the following prayer every day: TO OUR LADY QUEEN OF ANGELS: August Queen of the Heavens, heavenly sovereign of the Angels, thou who from the beginning received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech thee, to send thy holy legions so that, under thy command and through thy power, they may pursue the demons, combat them everywhere, suppress their boldness and drive them back into the abyss. Amen.
If we follow this advice, the advice of the Church herself, we will be able to say with great confidence the prayer of the Little Flower to her guardian angel: So with the Cross and with the Host; And with thine aid, dear angel friend; I wait in peace, on time’s dark coast … Heaven’s happiness that knows no end.