And having visited and honored the blessed departed in the crypt of our Cathedral soul, we climb the steps from the undercroft and cross over the Transept or great crossing in the front. You will remember that cathedrals are cruciform (cross shaped) as are our reverent souls. We are therefore crossing from the south arm to the north arm and there we shall find the Chapel Angelorum. Oh praise the Lord, this is a most wonderful thing to meditate upon -- the angels and archangels who serve God and His peoples. I have had the privilege of knowing people who've seen them including our daughter as a little girl. They surround us and defend us from the powers of darkness and the devil. Daily Cathy and I pray for them to surround our precious Laura Dawn and Scott, to protect and defend us here and at work, to bring us at last into the Kingdom of God.
Of the angels and archangels we know this much at least. They are pure Intelligences who have the power to manifest physically if it serves God's good purposes toward us. They were created eternities before the Universe and two thirds of them kept their first and most holy estate while one third, having fallen in love with the beauty and splendor of the chief Archangel Lucifer (means Light Bearer) were driven from the heavenlies (the nonphysical dimensions, the foundations of existence) by the Archangel Michael and the faithful holy angels.
I share some of the most ancient testimony in Scriptures and the Holy Tradition of our religion:
a) The Watchers
The Book of Enoch is an ancient text. Our Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples were familiar with it and some of the things appearing in Scripture concerning the angels and the end times are taken from that source. From the tradition of that book, the angels of God have come to be known as the "Watchers", those who keep watch upon the earth . . . or as the old expression has it, "The night has a thousand eyes.
The author of one of our most beautiful hymns, Athelstan Riley, has beautifully written of the angelic Watchers with these words:
He has reverently summed up the hierarchies of the angelic which St. Paul mentions in his letters to the ancient churches.
Holy Tradition recognizes that various angels govern spiritual regions, that this is true for both the holy angels and the fallen angels (the demonic). It names four archangels, two of whom are mentioned in the Scripture, Michael and Gabriel; one mentioned in the holy Apocrypha, Raphael (the book of Tobit); and, as I recall Uriel is made mention of in the Book of Enoch.
The ancient Fathers of our Faith held that holy angels cannot fall, that the fate of all angels be they holy or fallen is forever set. That only humans have been given the grace to repent and be saved they are in agreement as well. The belief that angels and demons were once human spirits was condemned by the ancient Fathers, and rightly so, since they were created at the dawn of all creation and are, by nature, pure intelligences.
Sadly we live in an age when the church doesn't teach sound doctrine as
it ought and therefore many poor souls have gotten into worshipping
angels. Holy Angels will not permit us to worship them, but fallen
angels will and, we must understand that Lucifer (the devil) can change
his appearance into an Angel of Light so we must walk close to Jesus.
b) Scripture, the revealed Word of God written, tells us many wondrous things about angels.
They were already in existence eternities before creation, they rejoiced at what the scientists of today call "the Big Bang", that is, the explosion of the universe into existence! This ancient text from Job is all the more wonderful in the light of today's discoveries concerning that wondrous "explosion":
1 Then the LORD answered out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God (that is, the angels) shouted for joy?
8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
The angelic realm is more beyond our comprehension than the furtherst reaches of the universe. What we do know, we know imperfectly. What we can speak of, comes from God's word written, the Bible. Some of these holy intelligences are so close to the Most Blessed Trinity in their eternal adoration and contemplation that they defy mortal comprehension all together -- they are, as one record company puts it, angels of the highest order. The Seraphim and the Cherubim are of these higher orders:
Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends.
2 Samuel 22:11
He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. [note: The ranks and choirs of angels are mentioned by St. Paul and others in various contexts. Both the holy angels and the fallen angels have their ranks and their "duties" for good or for evil (which is good corrupted by Satan).]
and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Colossians 1: 1-15
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colossae: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
There is now a constant warfare between the holy angels and the demons who are under the influence of Lucifer and the fallen angels presently chained in Hades.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
The archangel Lucifer is fallen and leads the wicked rebels.
12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
9 The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."
18 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
The great archangels Michael and Gabriel have played pivotal roles in most of history's great events:
10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.
11 He said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you." And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.
13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.
14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."
15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Holy Angels have often taken their parts for the welfare of our lives:
1 Keep on loving each other as brothers.
2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Every Christian soul has her guardian angel:
10 "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."
6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.
8 Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him.
9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."
Copyrighted Vintage Angel Art courtesy of VICTORIAN TRADITIONS
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