Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ZenTiger Send me an Angel

Angels seem to be making a comeback. They've been around for centuries in one form or another of course, and remain popular images in our cultural tapestry.

The Catholic teaching on Angels is fascinating, and there is a remarkable amount of material on the subject. If you tried to imagine vastly intelligent beings, numbered in the billions, capable of being anywhere virtually instantly, then you might imagine Angels.

Even the way Angels think is alien to us:

Our human mind comes into possession of knowledge by a gradual and laborious process. It requires first of all a number of years of physical development for the proper operation. It rises slowly from single sensible perceptions to general ideas of things and finally to abstract truth. The Angelic intellect, entirely free and independent from matter and senses, needs no such development. It is in the full possession of its power from the very beginning of its existence. There is no need of gathering elements of knowledge bit by bit, of adding ideas to ideas in order to discover truth, as is the case with us. Having been created in the full perfection of its nature, the Angelic mind neither develops by gradual growth nor does it suffer any decay; its knowledge does not pass by consecutive steps from the haze of the morning to the splendor of the noonday brightness. From the beginning of its existence it was able to grasp the objects within its own sphere and advert to them without any fatigue in the process, moving in the dazzling light of the purely spiritual world as in its proper element.

St. Thomas Aquinas pondered long and hard on the subject of Angels, and covers them in his Summa Theologica:

The Angels (Spirit)

SUBSTANCE: Their substance considered absolutely (50), and in relation to corporeal things, such as bodies (51) and locations (52). Their local movement (53).

INTELLECT: His power (54) and medium (55) of knowledge. The immaterial (56) and material (57) objects known. The manner (58) whereby he knows them.

WILL: The will itself (59) and its movement, which is love (60).

ORIGIN: How they were brought into natural existence (61) and perfected in grace (62). How some of them became wicked: Their sins (63) and punishment (64).

He suggests, as do passages in the bible, that we all have guardian angels. Believing in angels is not an article of faith of the Church, so think of it as a bonus. Who doesn't need a bit of help every now and then? The daily prayer to your guardian angel is possibly a well known classic even outside the Church:

Angel of God
My guardian dear
To Whom His love
Commits me here
Ever this day
Be at my side
To light and guard
To rule and guide. Amen

Our guardian angels can act upon our senses and upon our imaginations, but not directly upon our wills. Maybe that hunch you had was a tickle from your G.A.?

Whatever your opinion on angels, there is one thing you can do that will have a positive effect in your life. Spend some quiet time every night and just relax with your thoughts. Perhaps even say the prayer. Or maybe hum the tune "Send me an Angel". Maybe you just need to listen?

Send Me An Angel - Real Life (remake 1989 of their 1983 hit, great clip, or scroll up to the top of the post and watch the same track to the movie "RAD" and the weird 70's style nerdy look juxtaposed with some cool hip bike control)

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