This week the church celebrates angels. They are everywhere, except that you can’t see them because angels do not have bodies. They are pure spirit. “Angel” means messenger. They can be gentle and kind. And they can be aggressive and fierce. Mostly we think of the angels as sweet and, well, angelic. But when the angels appear to the shepherds at Christmas they say: “Do not be afraid.” When Gabriel appears to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, he says to Mary “Do not be afraid.” If the angles are so sweet and cherubic, one has to ask why they always have to say “Do not be afraid.” We don’t fear the adorable, but only the fierce. The gospels suggest that perhaps there was something very mighty about the angels who appeared to Mary and to the shepherds.
And there is a whole hierarchy of angels: Cherubim, known for their power, Seraphim, Princes, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, and the Arch-angels, who are the chief angels. There were once 4 Archangels: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel who delivers important messages, and lastly the one called the “Light Bearer” now known as the fallen angel Lucifer.
They are given to us as intermediaries in which to connect us to God. And each of you is given your own angel. Like a personal shopper in the fancy stores. You have your own angel given to you to help you along this treacherous pilgrimage of life. Tuesday is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, but Friday is the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels—your angel, given to you personally by God to help you get to Him. Get to know your angel.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux reminds us the words of the Psalm. “God has given His angles charge over you to guard you in all your ways.” St. Bernard continues, “Lord, You send those blessed spirits to serve us, assigning them as our guardians and our teachers. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, and are with you to protect you. With such protectors what have we to fear? Why then are we afraid? We have only to follow them.”