Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Angels

With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they ‘always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven’ they are the ‘mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.’

Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: ‘When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him.’ They belong to him because they were created through and for him: 'for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him.' They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan.

From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.' Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!"  They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.  Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.  They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement. In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.

In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

Paolo Veronese, Rest on the Flight into Egypt, c. 1572, Italian, active in Venice and Verona, 93 x 63 1/2 in., oil on canvas, The Ringling MuseumExcerpts from The Catechism of the Catholic Church.