Hierarchy of Angels

Excerpt from The Holy Family Rosary:

When recognized by name under the fig tree, Nathaniel answered Jesus: Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel.”[1] Jesus’ response was: “Amen, amen I say to you, you shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man[2] and then professed that every person has an angel when saying: “Their angels in heaven always stand before the face of my heavenly Father.”[3] Without the holy orders of angels deployed on behalf of goodness, who can stand against truth with impunity?

As defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church[4] with a quote of St. Augustine, “‘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.’”[5] They say angels are servants and messengers of God with their whole beings.  They “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” and are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.”[6] They continue “As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.”[7]

The following description of the choirs of angels was written by Father William P. Saunders and distributed on the internet.  He explained: “Since the 4th century, nine choirs or types of angels are identified in the Bible and have been elaborated upon by various theologians: The first three choirs see and adore God directly.  The seraphim, which mean “the burning ones,” have the most intense “flaming” love for God and comprehend Him with the greatest clarity.  They are the only rank of angels with the Essence of God. [Lucifer, which means “light bearer,” was a Seraphim whose beautiful light was changed into darkness.]  The cherubim, which means “fullness of wisdom,” contemplate God’s divine providence and plan for His creatures.  Lastly, the thrones, symbolizing divine justice and judicial power, contemplate God’s power and justice.

“The next three choirs fulfill God’s providential plan for the universe: The dominations or dominions, whose name evokes authority, govern the lesser choirs of angels.  The virtues, whose name originally suggested power or strength, implement the orders from the dominations and govern the heavenly bodies that are (called the firmament) between heaven and earth.  Lastly, the powers confront and fight against any evil forces opposed to God’s providential plan.”  [These all respond to the intellect of man with virtue as the central rank of angels that determine dominion over the influences of the flesh, the world, and the devil. As will be shown later, the Holy Family Rosary will increase our pondering of the importance for virtues’ practice in our lives.]

“The last three choirs are directly involved in human affairs: The principalities care for earthly principalities, such as nations or cities.  The archangels deliver God’s most important messages to mankind, while each angel serves as a guardian for each of us.  Although not official dogma, this schema became popular in the Middle Ages in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Hildegard of Bingen, and John Scotus Erigina.”[8]

We now have great cause to remember why it was said that Christ is “above all principality, and power, and virtue, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come”[9] and the reason for believing “If God be for us, who is against us?”[10]

When acknowledging these wonderful beings, who would dare say that angels are unimportant references for our lives within today’s morally corrupt ways?


[1] Jn 1:49.
[2] Jn 1:51.
[3] Mt 18:10.
[4] CCC #329
[5] St Augustine, En. In Ps. 103, 1, 15: PL 37, 1348.
[6] Mt 18:10; Ps 103:20.
[7] CCC #330; Cf. Pius XII, Humani Generis: DS 3891; Lk 20:36; Dan 10:9-12.
[8] Choirs of Angels: Fr. William P. Saunders; 9/29/02.
[9] Eph 1:21.
[10] Rom 8:31.

 

One Response to Hierarchy of Angels

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