In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 18:1-4.10)
On the second day of the novena, let us reflect on the nature and mission of angels. Just as God created man and all other creatures on earth, he also created angels. Angel and man are a separate kind. The angel is pure spirit. His whole nature is immortal. Man, however, consists of an immortal soul and a material, mortal body. An angel is not subject to growth or disappearance, while man, according to his nature, is subject to both laws. One should know – as St. Gregory the Great wrote in his homily – that the name angel does not describe the nature, but the task. Angelus – means sent. The angel is therefore a messenger of God. Those that herald minor matters are called angels, and those who announce the most important events in the history of salvation are archangels.
The above division due to the functions fulfilled is consistent with what the Holy Bible tells us. Each of the nine angel choirs presented there fulfills the role assigned to them by the Creator. So then:
- around God’s throne in heaven, the angels of the three highest choirs glorify the God with joy: Seraphim – angels of love; Cherubim – angels of wisdom and power of word; Thrones – angels of life from God and to God.
- three other choirs are divided among the creaation: Dominions – they mediate in the distribution of spiritual gifts and in the final time they will help the victory of God’s justice; Powers – watch over the laws of nature and God’s covenant with man; Virtues – inform creation and manage parts of the earth and the elements, building blocks of the world, as well as communities and a single man with his abilities and pursuit of virtue.
- the work of salvation on earth is assisted by three choirs closest to man: Principalities – they increase faith, hope and love, and strengthen the saving action of the Church; Archangels – great warriors and special servants of Mary; Angels – which also include Guardian Angels. They are not a separate choir, because the office of the Guardian Angel is an honor. God allows all angels to hold this office once, so that even the highest Seraphim can be a Guardian Angel.
This is how we briefly described the nature and mission of heavenly spirits called angels. Individual choirs of angels are well known to those devoted to St. Michael, who often pray the Chaplet to St. Michael and choir of Angels. Encouraging the pious practice of this prayer, mention should be made of the promises that Saint Michael the Archangel made to Antonina d´Astanac. Devotion to him and the choirs of angels pleads special graces for the Church. Zealous prayer of the Chaplet ensures: that prayers presented in the spirit of faith will be listened; the company of angels from individual choirs while receiving Holy Communion, their constant protection in the way of life, and after death, the release from purgatory for the worshipers and their families.
This is also our encouragement to take care of the Holy Church and our own salvation by cultivating and spreading of this devotion. Experience confirms the effectiveness of the devotion to Archangel Michael, and persistent dedication becomes a source of many favors for believers in Christ, both in this life and in eternity.
Fr. Rafał Kamiński CSMA