On Angels

Posted by: Richenda at Thursday April 24, 2008 in

I was thumbing through DeHarbe’s Catechism the other day and I thought it might be interesting to post the section on Angels on my blog. A Catechism is basically an instruction booklet for Christians, used to teach the initiate about Christianity, its ways and ideologies. Deharbe’s Catechism is Catholic.

It’s interesting to me as I write this up how difficult it is to talk about spiritual things—those things in the realm of ‘God’ which we can never really know. We have vision and inspiration…but words never really come close. The best chance we have is to dunk those awkward words into a warm soapy bath to try to clean them up. We scrub and soak them. We let theologians wring those suckers within an inch of being torn to shreds…and then we hang them out to dry.

Words in a line. Drip, drip, drip. What wisdom there is left, once humanity is done with those words, drips sudsy in the sun. And yet those same drips nourish the grass, and there grows a verdant furrow under the clothesline.

So. On to the text. Part catechism, part historical document, part struggle between revelation and human conception. For what it is, it is. (Drip. Drip.)

4. On the Angels

61. Has God created nothing else but the visible world?

God has also created an invisible world—namely innumerable spirits called Angels (Dan. vii 10).

The Angels are divided into nine different Orders or Choirs—namely, Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Denominations, Thrones, cherubim, and Seraphim. (Col. i. 16 ; Eph. i. 21 ; Ezech. x. ; Isai. vi. 2).

62. In what state were the Angels when God had created them?

They were all good and happy, and endowed with excellent gifts.

63. Did the Angels all remain good and happy ?

No, many rebelled against God ; therefore they were cast away fro him for ever, and hurled into hell.

‘God spared not the Angels that sinned, but delivered them, drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell, unto torments’ (2 Pet. ii. 4. ; comp. Jude vi.)

64. How has God rewarded the Angels that remained faithful?

He has rewarded them with eternal happiness, which consists in seeing and possessing Him everlastingly.

‘Their Angels in Heaven also was see the face of my Father who is in Heaven’ (Matt. xviii. 10.)

65. How are the good Angels affected towards us?

The good Angels love us ; therefore thy protect us in soul and body, pray for us, and exhort us to do good.

‘He hath given his Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.’ (Ps. xc. 11). –Ex. : Agar, Lot, Tobias, Judas, Machabeus (2 Mach. x. 29, 30.) ; Peter in prison ; Cornelius the centurion .

66. How do we call those Angels who are particularly given to man for his protection?

Guardian Angels.

67. What is our duty towards our Guardian Angels?

We must venerate them with great devotion, be thankful to them, and readily follow their admonitions.

‘Behold I will send my Angel, who shall go before thee. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned’ (Exod. xxiii. 20, 21.)

68. How are the fallen or wicked Angels affected towards us?

The wicked Angels, through hatred and envy, lay snares for us, in order to inure us in soul and body, and, by enticing us to sin, to plunge us into eternal perdition.

‘Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Pet. v. 8).—Examples: Eve, Job, Sara, the demoniacs, Judas. See also Luke viii. 12, and Apoc. xii .

69. Why does God permit the wicked Angels to lay snares for us?

He permits it because He knows how to make their snares served unto His own honor and to the salvation of men.

‘And they talked among themselves, saying : What word is this, for with authority and power He [Jesus] commandeth the unclean spirits, and they go out ? And the fame of Him was published into every place of the country’ (Luke iv. 36, 37.) ‘And the people with one accord were attentive to those things which were said by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For many of them had unclean spirits, who, crying with a loud voice, went out’ (Acts viii. 6, 7.)

70. What must we do on our part, in order that the snares of the wicked Angels may serve to our salvation?

We must fight against them full of faith and confidence, making use at the same time of the arms of prayer, and availing ourselves of the blessings sanctioned by the Church ; and we must firmly resist all temptations to evil.

‘For our wrestling is not [only] against flesh and blood ; but against the spirits of wickedness in the high placers,’ i.e. in the air (Eph. vi. 12.) ‘In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extingui8sh all the fiery darts of the most wicked one’ (Eph. vi. 16.) ‘Resist the devil, and he will fly from you’ (James iv. 7).—Ex.: Tobias and Sara (Tob. vi. 16-19, and viii. 4-10).

Application. Beware of being like the evil spirits by sinning, or of being even their accomplice in seducing others to sin. Imitate the good Angels ; be innocent, docile, pious, devout, and always ready to promote the welfare of your neighbor. Daily venerate your Guardian Angel, and recommend yourself to him in all dangers of soul and body. (Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.)

[Note: I learned a new word today! Contemned meaning viewed with contempt, disdain or scorned.]

Deharbe, Joseph., Deharbe’s Catechism, A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion from the German of Joseph Deharbe, S.J., Shwartz, Kirwin & Fauss: New York. 1862. Translated, L. Kehoe., 1876.

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