John the Apostle describes himself in Revelation 19:10 as being ecstatic in the presence of the angel and couldn’t help but fall before him. Prostration before the glory of angels is seen often in Sacred Scripture. What are these astounding spiritual beings so majestic and beautiful that they can be mistaken for God Himself?
These are God’s most intelligent and powerful spiritual creatures who “surpass in perfection all visible creatures” (CCC 330). There is no beauty on earth that can compare to the magnificence of the angels.
Created in the beginning through Christ and for Christ, they belong to Him (CCC 331). He sends these pure spirits forth to guide and serve us in our sin-laden frailty caused by the rupture of our relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. Man’s choice of self against God caused our present condition of disharmony with God, with others, and within our very selves. But with heavenly wonder, the angels contemplate God’s great love for man which drew Him personally down from heaven in the Incarnation to redeem him. Now that man has been saved by Christ’s passion, death and Resurrection, the angels rejoice that we can join in their heavenly praises here on earth through participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Angels and man praise God in gratitude for the Redemption while at the same time man continues to struggle against the propensity to sin and selfishness leftover from the rupture, in the same way that weakness remains after recovery from substance abuse. And so the angels clearly intuit the eternal importance of man’s individual choices.
They have been commanded to watch carefully over us and intercede on our behalf (CCC 336), which they will not hesitate to do the more we invite them to do so. Ask! Take advantage of the immense gift of these extraordinarily powerful and formidable yet generous spirits. Each one of us has an angel gazing on God’s very face in heaven on our behalf! (Mt. 18:10) As they gaze, these benevolent spirits rejoice to see us reconcile with God and grow ever more faithful to Him in all our thoughts, words and actions.
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