Characteristics of the Angels

Happy Feast of the Archangels! Yesterday’s post began a short study on the angels. We discussed who the angels are and who the angels are not. Today we are going to take a look at the characteristics of the angels.

Angels are marked by a number of characteristics that are specific to the angelic. First, no two angels are alike. Each of them is a separate and distinct creation, his own species if you will, and each one of them reflects a separate and distinct attribute of God’s divine perfection — His love, His strength, His goodness. Taken all together, the angels represent the Immensity of God (St. Michael and the Angels, pg. 12). 

Secondly, angels “have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 330). They are forever before God’s heavenly throne in praise and adoration. They behold the face of God who is in heaven and they hearken to the word of His voice (Matthew 18:10, Psalm 103:20). The Beatific Vision is always before their vigilant gaze even while they are immediately at our service, this made possible since they are not limited by time nor space.

Third, though they have free will, the heavenly angel’s will is perfectly conformed to the will of the Father. No stain of sin corrupts the angel’s ability to be the perfect conduit of God’s glory and brilliance, His majesty and power, His love and His mercy. “The angelic nature is a whole world of perfection in itself. And this at least we know, that angels are spiritual substances, incorruptible by nature, utterly separate from matter and entirely free from all those infirmities which compass us on every side … (St.Thomas Aquinas).

Finally, the angels are highly intelligent. Their intelligence is godlike, says St. Thomas, for their knowledge extends to all truths of the natural order, as well as to a great number of the supernatural order. They are acquainted with all the secrets of nature and all that remains most hidden from the greatest minds that ever existed, is intimately known to them … they understand everything at a glance …” (St. Michael and the Angels, quoting Boudon, pg. 12).

Today, we would do well to take as our own the prayer of  St. Patrick of Ireland:

I bind to myself today the power of the love of the Seraphim,

in the obedience of the Angels,

in the ministrations of the Archangels,

in the hope of Resurrection unto reward,

in the prayer of the Patriarchs,

in the predictions of the Prophets,

in the preaching of the Apostles,

in the faith of the Confessors,

in the purity of the holy Virgins,

in the deeds of Righteous men.   Amen.


Today’s “Angelic” Strategy

The angels are completely conformed to the will of God.

Is there any known area of disobedience, rebellion, stubbornness or obstinacy which prevents you from embracing God’s will for you? Entrust this to your angel and cooperate with the grace he brings to you from God to change your heart.

Tip: Because the angels are ever before the throne of God, sitting before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is a great way to join them as they intercede for us to win the spiritual battle.

Copyright 2009, by Johnnette S. Benkovic. All rights reserved.

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