We imagine the invisible world as having God (the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) and the Saints. Seeing the Saints as friends, filled with the love of Jesus, we understand that their friendship, prayer and help doesn’t stop with their death.
Sometimes we tend to forget the existence of the Angels, with all their grades, while in fact they have a very important and constant role to play in our life and salvation. If you want to remove the Angels, then not only will you have to remove large portions of the Scriptures and Tradition, but as well, many things will be lacking.
We think that during our prayer the interaction is only about God and us. Our understanding of prayer and “intimacy” with God is thought of as something of a silent and empty world, which only God and us inhabit. Significantly, however, Zachariah was at Prayer when God sent him his Messenger, GABRIEL. Similarly Mary was very probably at Prayer when God sent her his Messenger, GABRIEL.
Intimacy with God is often seen as something exclusive. However, Saint John of the Cross gives us an important answer to this question (in the Spiritual Canticle):
1- The Angels will always continue to be present in our lives, from day one, till the last day, so it is better to pay attention to this spiritual Friend, sent by God to help us and protect us. If you doubt this, you can contemplate Jesus himself, who is in His Human Nature Holy, the Holiest, and see how the Angels are present ans serve and help him (when He is tempted in the Desert, and when He prays in the Garden before his Passion). Are we better than Jesus? Stronger than Jesus? More intimate with God the Father than the Son Incarnate? So, keep this in mind, you will have them and need them. Your Master did, as a man, so you will have to.. with all the more reason.
2- Saint John of the Cross says (in the Spiritual Canticle) that the Angels play an important role in the long first stage of Spiritual Life Growth. They Transmit to us God’s Messages, God’s Word. Do you have doubts about this? Well remember what Gabriel says about himself and what Elisabeth says about Mary:
“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” (Luke 1:19-20)
“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfilment of those things [words] which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)
We see, then, that a Messenger is a being who transmits a Message, in our case, a Word from God. He carries something that doesn’t belong to him, something sacred. This is what you see in the first quote from St Luke: Gabriel makes it clear: he is not doing something on his own, of his own personal private initiative: He is Standing in Front of God. No games, no tricks, this is SERIOUS. He is not doing or transmitting anything that is not From God, willingly sent by God himself. So the respect you owe to the Sender (God) is the same respect you owe to the Message his messenger is sending according to His order. This is why St Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, says that this is the way God governs the world: He sends orders, He sends Messengers, and they execute his orders. He uses myriads of Angels to govern the world. So, there is nothing wrong in considering that the Angels are God’s Messengers, God’s Transmitters. This is the meaning of the word Angel: messenger.
“Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you […].”(Exodus 23:20-23)
But, when the spiritual person is growing, you reach a point where two things happen at the same time: one may confuse the messenger with the Sender, and the Message itself needed is becoming of greater significance. This is why St John of the Cross says to God at that spiritual juncture: “stop sending me Messengers of your beauty, the one I need is you Jesus”. It doesn’t mean that from day one the Messengers are not serving this purpose. Not at all. It means only that the growth of the Soul, and the possible confusion this produces, make the Soul become wider and wider, more thirsty, and make her shout loudly: I want more, and the One I want is you Jesus.
As we said above, this doesn’t mean that the person, now reaching a new step in her growth, will then forget completely about the Angels; no. It is just means a huge step forward is being taken. Remember as well, in order to be faithful to St John of the Cross, he thought that he was asking God not only to stop “fooling” him with smaller “messengers of his beauty” like Angels, but he mentions as well Nature, as a Messenger of God’s beauty. You can apply this distinction and desire for Christ himself and His entirety to everything (think of the small things we stop to look at sometimes in the Bible, while at a certain point the soul is that purified and ready that its thirst for Christ becomes huge: thirst for Christ in a new way, i.e. in His entirety).
Small words (like crumbs) now are not enough, the soul wants THE WORD of GOD Incarnate: Jesus.
Now, let us remain in the long first stage of spiritual life (in the majority of persons is takes sadly years, and very few cross it, not that God doesn’t want this to happen, but the “engines” that push for growth aren not well known and used): God Messengers are conveying to us His Word. Of course with the Holy Spirit.
Don’t you think that like the word of God we have words that are not from God? The Word of God carries Divine Life, the Holy Spirit. The words that don’t come from God, are carrying death, the reduction/shrinking, of our being. These words exist. There are hardly any neutral words. And if there are, they reduce our being to a small object of consideration. Take Science for example: Science is science, it is rampant, it doesn’t fly to God. It needs God to open our soul, so that Science becomes the sign of a bigger Being. Science then belongs to a different level of contemplation! One has to go from it, and be elevated by God, in order to be able to see the beauty of God in it. This is illustrates the neutral words one can meet in one’s life.
What about the rest of the words that nourish our mind, will, heart and freedom everyday? What about the words that shape our decisions everyday? From where do they come? Are they all from God?
Let us remember that we have three sources of words that are NOT Divine Life and Holy Spirit. Those sources are very well present to us, often unconsciously, but very well acting in us.
1- The world, 2- the flesh, and 3- the Devil/Satan and his angels. The three of them convey to us words, constantly, often unconsciously, but efficiently, and bear their fruits in us, through us.
These are three messengers, carriers, of words that are not Life and Spirit, Divine Life, and Holy Spirit.
As we acknowledge the existence of Angels, as Messengers of God, daily carriers of His Words, we have to acknowledge the existence of three other carriers, who carry other words, that are very bad, carrying death, death of our mind, death of our will, making us shrink more and more, and fall into darker areas. Mind you, sometimes we are so used to those words coming from the world, the flesh, and the devil, that we are not aware anymore about what the Light is and what difference it makes. We get used to the darkness and to its light. It is like when you go out dancing: you are in a big room, that is dark, full of loud noise, and you spend hours there, and you are not aware at all of what is happening to you. On the contrary, you call this life, fun, entertainment! Well, for a while!
So, let us become more aware of these different messengers, and let us become aware of the words they send us. Let us open our minds to a deeper and more differentiated way to understand the word: “words”. What is that food that we feed our souls with? Are they good or poisonous? It is exactly like certain things we eat: we find the taste delicious but when we read about the ingredients, we find that a lot of will power is needed to decide to overcome that fake artificial taste and attraction to it, in order to refrain from that “rubbish” that you are eating and “liking”.
Yes it requires awareness, Grace of God, to stop eating dead words, and turn to God, and listen to His Messengers, and to the Message, Divine Word, they carry to you.
I am sure “you are with me”! Let us pray for each other, let us choose our friends, let the choice fall on the ones who took the determined decision to seek the Divine Words, that give Divine Life. Are you ProDivineLife? Are you ProDivineWords?
Let us pray for each other, let us ask the Prayers of the Angels, let us be attentive to their Constant Presence and service to our soul, searching our Good all the time, always available to help and rejoicing when we turn, determined, to God, and God’s Words.
Prayer to the Guardian Angel
“O Holy Guardian Angel,
take care of my soul and my body.
Enlighten my mind to know the Lord better
and love Him with all my heart.
Assist me in my prayers to do not fall into distractions
but you keep the greatest attention.
Help me with your advice, to recognise the good and perform it with generosity.
Rescue me from the snares of the infernal enemy
and uphold me in temptations to always win them.
Replace me in my coldness while worshipping of the Lord:
not cease to attend to my custody
until you will bring me to Paradise,
where together we will praise the Good Lord for all eternity.”