All Holy Angels
Revelation 12:7-12; John 1:47-51
The monastic order is at times likened to the “angelic life.” Most assuredly, this is no reference to monks being angels or living in a type of claustral paradise, but it does tell us something about the nature of the Christian life, for generally, what can be said of monks, can be said as well, of all the baptized.
The being and activity of the Holy Angels has an exemplary effect on us. They remind us firstly that we are creatures, made by God and placed in the good order of the created universe. Thus, the meaning of our existence can only be fully comprehended in the context of our relationship to God. If we fail to embrace the reality of what God created us to be, we will find ourselves in the unenviable position of sharing Lucifer’s non serviam.
The Holy Angels are an unceasing chorus of praise. They encourage us to participate in magnifying the divine perfections most excellently in the sacred liturgy. This “angelic life” of praise is perhaps most recognizable in the Sanctus and the Divine office which extends the perfect praise of the Holy Sacrifice throughout the hours of the day.
We also share in the work of the angels as messengers of God’s Word. We are called to deliver the message of hope; that God has become man, and He has brought salvation to those who will accept this gift of love. The Canon of the Mass prays to Almighty God that his “angel may take this Sacrifice to your altar in heaven,” thus delivering our offering of Christ’s perfect praise, and returning to us with gifts of the heavenly treasure of grace won by our Lord on Mt. Calvary.
With the help of this grace, our own lives of Christian charity can mirror the activity of the Holy Angels. The angelic will is conformed to the divine will perfectly and irrevocably. The angels are committed to the accomplishment of God’s perfect and all-holy will, and dutifully assist in carrying out the Father’s plan to restore all things in Christ, thus the angels are for us, steadfast companions in everything that is good.
Each time we say “yes” to God, we renounce Satan and all his works. The “angelic life” we seek to live is a spiritual battle. Saint Michael is, of course, our great defender, but so are our guardian angels and the whole of the heavenly host. Lucifer may have been cast down, and a third of the angel may have gone into rebellion with him, but the sacred Scriptures proclaim today that salvation and power have come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His anointed one are established. Our accuser is cast out: He who lies, cheats, deceives, and manipulates day and night, is conquered by the Blood of the Lamb. This same precious blood will conquer the remnants of the evil one’s activity in us as well, so that like Christ, Satan will find nothing of himself in us.
It is this Victorious Lamb whom the angels praise and serve with perfect devotion. The “angelic life” we seek to live as Christians is single-hearted, like Nathaniel in today’s Gospel. There was no duplicity in him. He was exactly as he seemed to be, no guile, no pretension, no deceit or manipulation. Only with such purity will one witness the “opening of heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Today we rejoice with our holy patrons, and give thanks to God for their heavenly aid. They are a gift to us, an expression of our Heavenly Father’s love and desire that all creation join together in one eternal hymn of joyful praise.