02. Existence of the Angels
The mere light of reason does not assure us of the truth that there exists a whole world of invisible beings far more perfect than ourselves, and deputed by God to watch over us and shield us from harm. There are indeed certain facts, apart from revelation, ladder stretching from earth to heaven, whereon were angels ascending and descending. Earlier still an angel stayed the hand of Abraham as he was about to plunge the knife into the breast of his beloved son, and promised him in the name of God to multiply his seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is by the seashore, and to bless in him all the nations of the earth.
Again, an angel comforted Agar in her sore distress and pointed out ot her a well where she could find water for her dying boy. An angel led the people of Israel into the lands of the heathen nations which God gave them after their departure out of Egypt. And later under King Ezechias an angel of the Lord slew in a single night a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the army of Sennacherib, the Assyrian King, who boastfully threatened to capture Jerusalem, and carry off its people into slavery. (4 Kings 16)
Mention of the holy angels occurs frequently, too, in the Psalms and in the prophecies. For instance, an angel of the Lord bade Habacuc in Judea, bear to Daniel in the lions’ den at Babylon, the food he had prepared for the reapers, and catching him up by the hair of his head, transported him in an instant from the one place to the other, and set him down beside the lions’ den. (Daniel 16:33)
Hence it is clear that in the Old Testament alone, we have ample Scriptural warrant for our belief in the angels, and the New Testament is quite as explicit. Our Divine Lord himself alludes to Jacob’s vision when He speaks of angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. He also represents to us the angels of the little ones who believe in Him as ever beholding the face of His Father who is in heave, giving us in these words the surest basis for what the Church teaches us with respect to our guardian angels.
The Angel Gabriel, who four centuries previously had appeared ot the Prophet Daniel, declaring to him the time of the coming of the Messias, appears also in the blessed fulness of time, first of Zachary, to tell of the birth of the Precursor, and then to our ever blessed Lady, to announce the advent of the Redeemer himself. And when out Lord was born in the stable at Bethlehem, a whole host of angels celebrated the event with glad acclaim, rejoicing that at length the divine promise to our race was fulfilled.
There is no doubt then of the existence of the holy angels, and it remains for us to consider their nature and their gifts, that we may be filled with admiration for them and that our hearts may expand with holy joy at the thought that one day we shall see them as they are – those glorious beings, those countless throngs – and be united with them in the bonds of close and everlasting intimacy.