The angels are also evolving beings who are growing towards a standard of perfection. They are our fellow citizens upon this planet and in this solar system. We may think of them as our less material brethren, born of the same Parent, divine in their origin as we are divine, and traveling towards the same goal, which is union with God and perfect manifestation of divine attributes. When Jacob, at Bethel, dreamed of a ladder from earth to heaven, and the angels of God descending and ascending thereon, he had a true vision of the angelic evolution.
Angels differ from ourselves in many characteristics, the chief of which is that they do not have a physical body, and are therefore, normally, invisible to us. The matter of which their bodies are formed is more subtle than that which forms our own. Its vibrations are beyond the visible spectrum, and therefore our eyes cannot respond to them. We have other eyes, however, with which it is possible for us to see them the eyes of the soul. If we will but open our inner eyes, our angel companions will become visible to us, and we shall see them face to face, for they are everywhere present; the air about us is full of unseen beings of many races and degrees.
The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of lightLuke 11:34
The existence of angelic beings is more widely recognized in the East than in the West. The religions of the East contain much information about their life and their activities, their methods of growth, their many types and orders, and their universal existence. In the Christian religion we are taught that there are nine orders of angels called, severally, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers, Cherubim, Seraphim, Virtues, Angels, and Archangels. To each of these orders certain qualities and activities are assigned.
The Cherubim are those which excel in the splendor of knowledge, the Seraphim those most ardent in divine love, and the Thrones those which contemplate the glory and equity of the divine judgments. Hence, the Cherubim enlighten with wisdom; the Seraphim inspire with love; the Thrones teach men to rule with judgment. Dominions are supposed to regulate the activities and duties of the angels; the Principalities preside over peoples and provinces, and serve as great angelic rulers of the nations of the world; Powers are a check on evil spirits; Virtues have the gift of working miracles; and Archangels are sent as messengers in matters of high importance, as were Gabriel and Raphael.
In nearly all the Biblical accounts of men’s visions of God, He is described as transcendent in glory and surrounded by countless multitudes of His holy angels. Two passages which illustrate this are those describing the visions of Daniel in the Old, and of St. John in the New Testaments. Daniel says: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool; His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.” (Dan. VII. 9, 10.) St. John says: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” (Rev. V. 11.)
Saint Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of our many parishes. His feast day is celebrated on September 29th. He is regarded as the patron and protector of the church, because he remained faithful to God, and defeated Lucifer.
Revelation 12: 7-12
Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them. But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.”
Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels. The other celestial choirs includes: Angels, Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Domination, Virtues, Powers, and Principalities. Among all the angels, Archangels have the most special and protective love for humans and earth. (Jude 1:9; 1 Thes 4:16)
The Church recognizes Michael the Archangel as one of the greatest of the Archangels and is considered to be the guardian of the Church.
Prayer to St. Michael
Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And you, Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits who prowl the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.