by Clyde Ericson H. Nolasco
Three days ago, we celebrated the feast of the archangels (September 28) while today, we commemorate the feast of the Guardian angels (October 2).
The Angels, who they are and their existence, is a usual discussion among the faithful. Though many would express their belief in angels, many are also confused about them.
Angels exist. | Photo from Pixabay
The Church and her doctrines have always been direct and straightforward that angels exist.
They are real, as the Church teaches:
“The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith.” (CCC 328)
St. Augustine even proclaimed:
‘Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'"
Thus, they are creatures without physical bodies that act as God’s servants. Angels were created through Him and for Him.
They also praise God unceasingly (Psalm 103:20-21, 148:2; Matthew 26:53) and protect us from harm. That’s why we call them our “guardian angels” (Psalm 91:11).
In the Bible, they are usually mentioned as messengers from God. The word “angel” comes from the Greek word “angelos”, which means “messenger.”
Gabriel was God’s messenger to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:15-16) and was a key character in the annunciation to Mary (Lukas 1:26-38). An angel also appeared in Jacob’s (Genesis 31:10-13) and Joseph’s dreams (Matthew 1:20). It was the angels also who appeared to the shepherds and informed them of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem (Luke 2:8-15).
In the Scriptures and in both Jewish and Christians traditions, angels are grouped into different choirs. Hence, we have the hierarchy of angels. From the highest to the lowest rank, we have the Seraphim, Cherubim (plural of Cherub), Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.
The Nine Choirs of Angels
Common Misconceptions about Angels
Though belief in angels is popular among the faithful, we cannot deny that there are also errors and misunderstandings about them.
First of all and the most common misconception: WE ARE NOT AND WILL NOT BECOME ANGELS. Though it’s a nice idea to have a departed loved one become our personal guardian angel, it will not happen. They are different creatures from us. When a person dies, we will go either to heaven, hell or purgatory. No transformation into an angel will happen.
ANGELS ARE PURELY SPIRITUAL BEINGS thus they do not possess physical bodies. They have intellect and will, and they are immortal. However, because of their duties as God’s messengers, they appear as human beings at times. In the Bible, they are even depicted to have wings signifying they are heavenly creatures (Exodus 25:20, 2 Chronicles 3:12, Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 and Revelation chapter 4).
Though we know some of them with male names like Michael, Daniela and Raphael, ANGELS DO NOT HAVE GENDER. In a very unusual way, the angel mentioned In Zechariah 5:5-11 was a woman. Again, though the word “angel” may imply masculinity along with the names used for them, angels do not follow the genders male or female as we humans understand it. They are neither for they are angels.