Saturday, September 29, 2007


Today, September 29, is the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

St. Michael is the leader of the angels who fought with the devil: “And there was a battle in heaven; Michael and his angels battled with the dragon… the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, who leads astray the whole world; and he was cast down to the earth and with him his angels were cast down.” (Rev 12:7-9) St. Gabriel announced to Zachary the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1:5-25); and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the birth of our Lord (Lk 1:26-38). St. Raphael accompanied and assisted the youth, Tobias, on his journey, culminating in the marriage of Tobias to Sarah, her healing from diabolical oppression, and the recovery of Tobit’s sight and of his wealth (Book of Tobit).

We know about the angels through Divine Revelation; but it also stands to reason (why not?) that there should be creatures who are pure spirit. Devotion to the Holy Angels is an antidote to the materialist tendencies of our time.

The doctrine concerning the angels also helps explain the “existence” of evil: It was the serpent who induced Eve to disobey God, out of envy at man’s friendship with God and the happiness it brought. “Through the devil’s envy death entered the world” (Wis 2:24). God did not create “evil”, which is simply the absence of a good that should be there; evil entered the universe through the choice of free creatures to turn away from God. The primordial “turning away” from God came from spiritual creatures—the devil and his angels—having greater freedom than man.

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” (Ps 91:11-12) The devil quotes this line in the temptation of our Lord in the desert (Lk 4:1-13; Mt 4:1-11)—yes, even the devil can quote scripture—to highlight, perhaps, the reason for the fall of his angels: they would not serve mere man. The Holy Angels are those who remained loyal to God; angels who, as speculation goes, in a “preview” of the Incarnation, chose to obey God and to serve the lower creature, man.

It is also of the Faith that each one of us has a Guardian Angel. Our Lord Himself said: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father in heaven.” (Mt 18:10)

It is no accident that St. Josemaria founded Opus Dei, by divine inspiration, on the feast of the Holy (Guardian) Angels (October 2, 1928). The mission of St. Josemaria and Opus Dei—essentially, to propagate the universal call to holiness, and the truth that all the normal circumstances of ordinary life can be a path to sanctity—is anchored on the fact that we are children of God by grace. And one very consoling “proof” of our divine filiation—of God’s fatherly love towards each of us—is that He gave us our Guardian Angel to help us on our journey towards sanctity. God, in His parental care, gave us our betters to serve us. The holy angels are with us in all the circumstances of daily life.

St. Josemaria writes: “Whenever you are in need of anything, or are facing difficulties, whether great or small, invoke your Guardian Angel, asking him to sort the matter out with Jesus, or to carry out a particular service you may require.” (The Forge, No. 931) Also:

“The Guardian Angel always accompanies us as our principal witness. It is he who, at your particular judgment, will remember the kind deeds you performed for Our Lord throughout your life. Furthermore, when you feel lost, before the terrible accusations of the enemy, your Angel will present those intimations of your heart—which perhaps you yourself might have forgotten—those proofs of love which you might have had for God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.” (Furrow, No. 693)

May we come to appreciate more and more each day the love God has for each of us, his children, by keeping in touch with our Guardian Angel, and with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Angels, our mother.