In these trying times, it's wise to reflect on the great gifts we have received in our Faith, and how they can help us to meet the challenge of maintaining our religious life and inner peace. Let's consider five points about the importance of one of these gifts: our heavenly helpers, the Holy Angels, whose feast days we celebrate this week (September 29th - Saint Michael the Archangel, October 2nd - the Guardian Angels).
1. The angels are real.
This seems obvious, but do we relate to the angels like they are real? The holy scriptures, the writings of the saints, and the experience of Christians for over 2,000 years demonstrate the countless ways that the holy angels watch over our lives, protecting and guiding the faithful, the Church, and the nations of the world.
"The whole air about us is filled with angels" (Saint John Chyrsostom).
2. They have one task: to do the will of God.
And in relation to us, what is that will? That we, as Saint John the Baptist is described, become earthly angels and heavenly men and women. The angels are ever attentive to protect us in our path through life, to awaken our conscience, and lead us on the path to heaven.
"When tempted, invoke your angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped" (Saint John Bosco).
3. They are the real "first line of defense."
At a time when evil seems to be having its way throughout our country and the rest of the world, we need to call upon the help of this heavenly army.
"Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil" (Prayer to Saint Michael, written by Pope Leo XIII).
4. There is nothing too small or too great for the holy Angels.
We are all familiar with Bernhard Plockhorst's famous painting of two toddlers crossing a rickety bridge in the forest, followed by a tall, attentive angel. And at the other extreme of angelic duties, the Russian monk-priest Saint Seraphim of Sarov taught that an archangel has the power to create and destroy worlds.
"How consoling it is to know that we have a spirit who from womb to tomb never leaves us, even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit guides and protects us like a friend, a brother" (Saint Pio of Pietrelcina).
5. They are ever with us, always listening.
The more we call upon the help of the holy Angels, the more it will become apparent to us. Let us be wise, and seek their help!
"Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you" (Saint Francis de Sales).