13. The Flight of Angels
The angels have each a limited sphere of action. They cannot accomplish anything beyond it. They cannot act directly at a distance, but to produce an effect where they are not actually present, they must transfer themselves from place to place. This they do with incredible speed.
We do not share the opinion of those who hold that angels pass from one place to another instantaneously, that is to say, without passing through the intermediate space. That would be a sort of replication, which is perhaps the more common and more likely way of explaining how Our Lord’s blessed body in heaven becomes present on the altar through the words of consecration, but seems an unlikely, as it is an unnecessary, explanation of what must be an ordinary occurrence in the life of an angel.
The angels do, indeed, enjoy extraordinary agility. They can traverse bewildering distances with amazing rapidity. But, so can some material things, as the light, which travels at the rate of approximately 200,000 miles second, the equivalent of eight times the circumference of the earth. And yet, as it speeds towards us from the distant stars, the light marks successively every portion of the endless pathway it must cover.
Hence, too, the angels, while they, as spiritual substances in no wise hampered by the limitations of matter, fly through the boundless realms of space with a speed far exceeding that of light, may with reason be thought to arrive at the term of their motion only after having passed in succession through every inch of the intervening space.