These extraordinary beings, which were created by God to be pure spirits, are possessed of powers that are incomprehensible to the human mind: their exalted intelligence; their ability to move at the speed of thought; their herculean strength; the uncanny way they communicate with one another simply by opening their minds and revealing what they wish to “say.”
Jesus Himself tells us that we each have a guardian angel in Matthew 18:10: “Their angels in heaven always stand before the face of my heavenly Father.”
As the Catechism teaches: “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith.” (No. 328)
Even though the Church has never defined this truth, the great Father Suarez SJ, an authority on this subject, says to not believe it would be “a very great rashness and practically an error.”
Scripture has give us a wealth of information about the angels, including the names of the three archangels – Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – who are part of the “Seven Angels” that stand before the throne of God.
“Grace be unto you and peace from Him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the Seven Spirits which are before the Throne.” (Rev. 1:4)
These angels are believed to “form a privileged circle most close to Almighty God” and are considered to be the highest princes of the heavenly court whose main occupation is to contemplate and praise the Divine Essence, but who are also assigned special duties.
For instance, Michael is the angel that sent Lucifer packing during the great war that took place in heaven between the good and the bad angels. Gabriel is the angel who announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zachariah, who received Our Lady’s fiat to become the Mother of the Messiah, and who announced his birth to the shepherds. Raphael, who is believed to be the angel who stirred the healing waters in the pool of Bethsaida is also the angel who healed Sarah of a curse of the demon Asmodeus that prevented her from enjoying a successful marriage.
We do not know the names of the rest of the seven, although there are plenty of people who claim to know them.
Consider this article, published on Spirit Daily on September 26, which claims that “In the year 1040, St. Celias made an exhaustive study of the approved writings of the Early Church Fathers up to the 4th Century. Through his studies we have come to know seven of the names of the Archangels, the meaning of their names and the sacrament each is the patron of.”
This saint, of whom I could find no record, claims the names of the seven angels are: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Jehudiel, Sealtiel and Barachiel.
The Catholic Encyclopedia reports that of the seven archangels that appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three are named in canonical Scripture – Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. The other names are taken from a non-canonical source – the Book of Enoch – with derivatives found in other apocryphal sources.
It’s important to note that the Vatican does not approve of the veneration of these and other “rogue” angels. In this 300-page Directory of Public Piety which was published in 2001 by the Congregation for Divine Worship, the faithful are discouraged from “assigning names to the Holy Angels . . . except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael.”
These directives serve to protect the faithful from being drawn into devotions to phony angels such as those being promoted by proponents of the New Age movement. Angel intuitives and card readers form a virtual cottage industry on the internet and who make a variety of absurd claims about angels who do everything from find our soul mate to insure our financial success.
For instance, a spiritual healer known as Joy Pedersen claims to channel St. Michael and has published books filled with these alleged messages. She claims these messages will empower people to “resolve their issues affecting money, career, and relationships as well as how to create peace on earth and prepare for heaven on earth.”
Sister Othelia, the Feng Shui Gypsy, tells visitors to her site that “angels are of positive frequency and unconditional love” and offers Angel Message Readings to anyone who wants the advice of these beings.
Ronna Herman, who calls herself a messenger for Archangel Michael, says her “Wisdom Teachings of Archangel Michael” offer to help people “claim self-mastery” and “attain soul-awareness and God-consciousness.”
God has explicitly condemned the spiritualistic practice of channeling in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10) so whoever (or whatever) is passing along these messages is certainly not of God.
Always remember that “Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels . . .” (Catechism No. 331) ” who exist solely to do His will. They would never be at the beck and call of a medium.
God has given us a celestial bodyguard to guard us who is possessed of such extraordinary power and beauty they expose these cheap New Age imitations for what they truly are – either figments of someone’s imagination or visitations from the dark side.
Want to learn more about the Angels? Check out this week’s Women of Grace Live shows featuring Mike Aquilina entitled “Angels: The Power, The Mystery, The Presence”.