imageedit 720 40257938621 e1671602431253

The Existence of Angels

Adjust Voice Speed - Knob on the right
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Angels are a necessity of creation

Government of the World

Angels take part, in a way proper to themselves, in God’s government of creation, as “the mighty ones who do his word” according to the plan established by Divine Providence.

imageedit 710 93164790701


The main purpose of creation is good. Goodness or perfection consists in the resemblance of the created being with the Creator, of the effect with the cause.


The resemblance of the effect to the cause is perfect when the effect imitates the cause as it produces it.


Now, God produces the creature by intellect and by will. The perfection of the universe therefore requires that there be intellectual and incorporeal creatures. - St. Thomas Aquinas

Assuming, says Saint Thomas, the decree of creation, the existence of certain incorporeal creatures is a necessity.

As we have just indicated, angels are incorporeal, that is, they have no bodies with which they are naturally united. “The reason for this is that, being completely intellectual beings and subsisting by themselves, formae subsistentes, as St. Thomas says, they do not need bodies to be perfect. If the human soul is united to a body, it is because it does not have the fullness of knowledge and is obliged to acquire it by means of sensible things. As for the angels, being perfectly intellectual by their nature, they have nothing to learn from material creatures, and the body is useless to them.

However, they can form bodies and give them a figure and an accidental form.

Thus, the appearance of angels in a sensible form is not an imaginary vision. The imaginary vision is only in the imagination of the one who sees it; it escapes the others. Now, the Scripture often speaks to us of angels appearing in sensible forms, and which are seen indiscriminately by everyone. The angels who appear to Abraham are seen by the patriarch, by all his family, by Lot and by the inhabitants of Sodom. Similarly, the angel who appears to Tobias is seen by him, his wife, his son, Sarah and all of Sarah’s family.

It is therefore clear that this was not an imaginary vision. It was a corporeal vision, in which the one who enjoys it sees something external to him. Now, the object of such a vision, that is to say the external thing, can only be a body. But, since the angels are incorporeal and have no body to which they are naturally united, it follows that they put on, when necessary, bodies formed accidentally (S. Th., I p. q. LI, an. 1, cor.).

By conversing familiarly with men, says St. Thomas, the angels want to show us the truth of that great society of intelligent beings which we await in heaven. In the Old Testament, their appearances were intended to prepare mankind for the incarnation of the Word, for they were all a figure of the appearance of the Word in the pulpit.

In the New Testament, they contribute to the fulfillment of the mystery, both in itself and in the Church and in the elect. It is easy to convince oneself of this by examining the circumstances of the angelic apparitions to Zechariah, to the Blessed Virgin, to St. Joseph, to St. Peter, to the apostles, to the martyrs, to the saints in all the centuries.

According to the most learned interpreters, the accidental appearances of angels on earth would be only the prelude to a usual appearance in heaven:

It is probable that in heaven the angels will take on magnificent bodies, in order to delight the eyes of the elect, and to converse with them mouth to mouth. This seems to be required, on the one hand, by the friendship, by the union, by the intimate communication which will exist between the angels and the blessed, as fellow citizens of the same homeland; on the other hand, by the reward due to the mortification of the senses and to the angelic life which the saints have led here below, in the hope of enjoying the society of the angels. If it were otherwise, the senses of the elect would receive no joy from the angels, and even any relationship with them would be impossible. Everything would be limited to mental communication, and the body would be deprived of part of its reward.


Guardian angel in disguise?


On one occasion Grigio defended St. John Bosco from a formidable band of paid assassins. When at midnight passing through the Place Milan…he observed a man follow, armed with a large cudgel and hastened with the hope of reaching the Oratory safely. He was already at the top of the declivity when lower down he saw a group of men, then he waited for the one behind, whom he threw down. His comrades surrounded Don Bosco with raised sticks, the faithful Grigio appeared, beside his protégé, snarling and springing about in such fury that the wretches terrified besought Don Bosco to quiet the dog and vanished in the darkness. Don Bosco’s faithful four-footed guardian escorted him to the door of the Oratory.

Grigio, a mysterious dog or wolfe, only appeared when Don Bosco needed him and always refused to eat (quite strange for a dog!).

One night returning home later than usual and feeling vague apprehension Don Bosco saw a dog approach and felt alarmed, but the animal gently wagged his tail and turning, walked beside Don Bosco, who caressed him. All fear vanished. The dog escorted Don Bosco to the Oratory but refused to enter. Whenever he was late in coming home, on one side “il Grigio,” the grey dog, appeared.

401c59fd81d42843931a5ced7e0a44e3 XL 1 1

Angel Protector of Portugal

imageedit 718 82442047541

In Fatima, the three apparitions of the Angel Protector of Portugal, in 1916, prepared the way for the Blessed Virgin, instructing the little shepherds on the need to offer acts of adoration, prayers and sacrifices, in reparation for the sins committed against the Most Holy Trinity, and in particular for the indifference and sacrileges with which Jesus is offended in the Eucharist. – See article here

The heavenly messenger, with the three children on their knees, communicated with Lucia, giving her “the Sacred Host, and he shared the Blood from the chalice between Jacinta and Francisco, saying at the same time: ‘Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.

angeloffatima 1

The beauty of angels is the radiation of their essential perfection, and their essential perfection is intelligence. Who will tell the extent of this? Saint Thomas answers: The angelic intelligence is deiformed, that is to say that the angel acquires the knowledge of the truth not by the sight of sensible things, nor by reasoning, but by the simple look. Exclusively spiritual substance, in him the intellective power is complete, that is to say that it is never in power as in man, but always in act, so that the angel actually knows all that he can naturally know.

Abraham And The Three Angels 1 1
Three angels hosted by Abraham, Ludovico Carracci (c. 1610–1612), Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale

He knows it in its entirety, in the whole and in the details, in the principle and in the final consequences.

Intelligences of a lower order, like the human soul, need, in order to arrive at a perfect knowledge of the truth, a certain movement, a certain intellectual work, by which they proceed from the known to the unknown. This operation would not take place if, as soon as they knew a principle, they saw all its consequences instantaneously. Such is the prerogative of the angels. When they come into possession of a principle, they immediately know all that it contains; this is why they are called intellectuals, and human souls simply reasonable. Thus, there can be no falsity, no error, no deception in the intelligence of any angel.

To what does the knowledge of the princes of the City of Good extend? It extends to all the truths of the natural order. For them, heaven and earth have nothing hidden; and, since they are confirmed in grace, they know most of the truths of the supernatural order. We say most, because until the day of judgment, when the course of centuries will end, the angels will receive new communications about the government of the world, and in particular about the salvation of the predestined.

From the incorporeality of angels comes their agility. Being finite, the angel cannot be everywhere at the same time; but such is the rapidity of his movements that they almost amount to ubiquity.

The angel, says Saint Thomas, is not composed of different natures, so that the movement of one prevents or delays the movement of the other: as it happens to man in whom the movement of the soul is hindered by the organs. Now, as no obstacle delays or prevents it, the intellectual being moves in all the fullness of its force. For him space disappears. Thus, the princes of the City of Good can, in the twinkling of an eye, be in one place; and, in another twinkling of an eye, in another place, without intermediate duration.” Such is, moreover, their subtlety, that the most opaque bodies are less to them than a diaphanous veil to the rays of the sun.

Like agility, the strength of angels has its source in the essence of their being, which participates more abundantly than any other in the divine essence, infinite strength. Thus, both surpass all that we know of agility and strength in nature, that is to say, they are incalculable and are exercised on the world and on man.

On the world: it is the angels who impart the movement to it. Inert by nature, all material creatures are born to be set in motion by spiritual creatures, like our body by our soul. It is a law of divine wisdom,” teaches St. Thomas, “that inferior beings are moved by superior beings. Now, since material nature is inferior to spiritual nature, it is manifest that it is set in motion by spiritual beings.

hear a song of the angels

St. Hildegard of Bingen said that “when man’s spirit is well directed, he hears the song of the angels.” “The soul is itself a symphony, and it harmonizes everything.” She wrote that “the cohort of the angels yearns for God. It recognizes Him throughout the symphony of its praises and celebrates its past and present eternal mysteries.”

Not only do the angels impart movement to the material world, but they preserve it, either by preventing the demons from disturbing the laws which govern its harmony, or by ensuring the perpetual maintenance of these admirable laws.

The whole material creation,” says St. Augustine, “is administered by the angels. – So there is nothing to prevent us from saying,” adds St. Thomas, “that the lower angels are assigned by divine wisdom to the government of the lower bodies, the higher ones to the government of the higher bodies, and finally, the higher ones to the adoration of the Being of beings.

We must not be mistaken, then, that the marvelous order which strikes us in nature, and especially in the firmament, is due, not to chance, not to the force of things, not to immutable laws, but to the continual action of the princes of the City of Good. Under the orders of their king, they lead the immense globes which make up the brilliant army of the heavens, as officials lead their soldiers, as conductors lead their formidable machines: with this difference that the latter can make mistakes, the former never.

In spite of the frightening speed that they impart to these gigantic masses, they maintain them in their orbit, making each one follow its route with mathematical precision.

234 1 1 – See miracle of the sun article here.

Only one day, which will be the last of the days, this magnificent harmony will be broken. At the approach of the sovereign judge, when all creatures will arm themselves against the guilty man, the powerful drivers of the stars will upset the order of the planetary system. Then the nations will dry up with fear in anticipation of what is to come (Matth., XXIV, 29).

On man. By virtue of the same law of subordination, spiritual beings of a lower order are subject to the action of spiritual beings of a higher order. Thus, man is subject, body and soul, to the angelic powers, and the angels are not subject to him. It would be necessary to go through the whole of Scripture if one wanted to relate the different operations of the angels on the body of man.

angel4 1 1Let us only cite the example of the prophet Habakkuk, transported by an angel from Palestine to Babylon, in order to give food to Daniel, who was locked up in the lions’ den. Let’s also mention the army of the king of Assyria, Sennacherib, whose one hundred and eighty-five thousand men were cut to pieces by an angel during the night.

Recalling this fact on the occasion of the twelve legions of angels which our Lord could have called around him in the Garden of Olives, Saint Chrysostom rightly exclaims: “If one angel could have put to death one hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers, what could not twelve legions of angels have done? We could add the well-known passage of the angel exterminator, to whom it took only a few moments to destroy all the first-born of men and animals in the vast kingdom of Egypt.

As for our soul, the angels can and do exert on it an action which is alternately ordinary and extraordinary, the power of which it is difficult to measure. The understanding owes its most precious lights to them. “The revelations of divine things, says the great Saint Denis, reach men by means of angels.

From the first to the last, every page of the Old and New Testaments verifies the words of the illustrious disciple of Saint Paul. Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Tobias, the Maccabees, the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, the holy women, the apostles are instructed and directed by these spirits who administer man and the world.

We shall see that the guardian angel fulfills, with less brilliance no doubt, but no less truly, the same functions with regard to the soul entrusted to his solicitude. This illumination, so powerful on the conduct of life, takes place in several ways. Sometimes the angel strengthens man’s understanding, so that he can conceive the truth; sometimes he presents him with sensible images, by means of which he can know the truth, which without them he would not know. Thus does the man himself instruct another.

Is it a question of the will? It is true that the angels, good or bad, cannot force its determinations, for the soul always remains free; but universal experience teaches us how effective are the inspirations of the good angels and the suggestions of the bad angels, to lead us to good or to evil. Both draw much of their strength from the power of the princes of the City of Good and the City of Evil to act profoundly on the external senses.

Thanks to them, the demons fascinate the imagination with deceptive images, which remove the ugliness of evil or clothe it with the appearance of good; they stir up the whole lower part of the soul and thus inflame concupiscence. The good angels, on the other hand, removing the clouds of error, the darkness of the passions, bring the senses back to their native purity and produce, as it were, a second sight, by means of which things are presented to the soul’s appreciations under their true aspect.

In certain cases, angels can even deprive man of the use of his senses, as happened to the inhabitants of Sodom. To this law is linked the long series of facts of the divine and satanic supernatural, which fill the annals of all peoples, and of which reason can no more explain the nature or ignore the cause, than it can deny their authenticity.

Less ignorant or less obstinate in error than our modern rationalists, the pagans, who had not yet invented the system of immutable laws, proclaimed highly and without restriction the free government of man and of the world by angelic powers.

In addition to the testimonies already cited, we have that of Apuleius. It is so explicit that it is like a page from the book of Job. “If it is, he says, indecent for a king to do everything and to govern everything by himself, it is much more so for God. It is therefore necessary to believe, in order to preserve all His majesty, that He is seated on His sublime throne, and that He governs all the parts of the universe by the celestial powers. It is indeed by their care that He governs the lower world. For this He needs neither pain nor calculation, things which man’s ignorance or weakness requires.

“When the king and father of all beings, whom we can only see with the eyes of the soul, wants to set in motion the immense machine of the universe, resplendent with stars, shining with a thousand beauties, directed by His laws, He does, if it is permitted to say so, what is done at the moment of a battle. The trumpet sounds. Animated by its accents, the soldiers are agitated. One takes his sword, the other his shield; those, their breastplate, their helmet, their boots; this one harnesses his horse; the other ties his steeds to the quadriga. Each one with ardor prepares himself. The velites form the ranks, the leaders inspect them, and the knights take command. Each one occupies himself with his office. However the whole army obeys only one general, whom the king places at its head.

“It is no different with the government of divine and human things. Under the orders of a single chief, each one knows its duty and performs it, although it does not know the secret spring which makes it act, and this power escapes the eyes of the body. Let us take an example in a lower order. In man the soul is invisible. However, one would have to be insane to deny that everything man does comes from this invisible principle. It is to it that human life owes its security; the fields, their cultivation; the fruits, their use; the years, their exercise; in a word, everything that man does.

Let man therefore remember this. As the material world is governed by the angelic powers, so is he placed under the immediate action of a good or evil angel. Not a word, not an action, not a minute in its existence, which is not influenced by one or other of these powerful creatures. But it is sweet to think that the power of the princes of the City of good surpasses that of the princes of the City of evil.

In God,” says St. Thomas, is the primary source of all superiority. The nearer they come to God, the more creatures become part of Him, and the more perfect they are. Now, the greatest perfection, that which comes closest to that of God, belongs to those beings who enjoy God Himself: such are the good angels. The demons are deprived of this perfection. That is why the good angels are superior to them in power and keep them subject to their empire. From this comes, as a consequence, that the last of the good angels commands the first of the demons, since the divine force, in which he participates, prevails over the force of the angelic nature.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *