September is traditionally the month of the holy angels in the Catholic Church. As Catholics, we believe God created spiritual, non-bodied beings that the Bible refers to as “angels.” This term—angel—refers to their office or duty as messengers of God. They are purely spiritual creatures with intellects and wills. They are personal and immortal surpassing in perfection all visible creatures (cf. CCC 328-330).
Throughout the Bible, we hear about God’s angels and their role in the history of salvation. They are ever announcing our salvation from near and far and serving the accomplishment of God’s divine Will. They closed earthly paradise after the Fall. They protected Lot, saved Hagar and Ishmael, and intervened at Isaac’s sacrifice. They led God’s People in the desert. They announced births and callings. They assisted the prophets. And, finally, Gabriel announced the births of both John the Baptist and Jesus himself (cf. CCC 332).
We hear about different types of angels throughout the Bible. St. Thomas Aquinas, who is rightly called the “Angelic” Doctor of the Church, categorized these types of angels into nine choirs. The nine choirs of angels are as follows:
Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones are the highest choirs of angels because their only duty is to contemplate and adore God Himself. This is the greatest thing any creature can do and it directs us in the Will of God.
Dominions, Virtues, and Powers are the middle choirs of angels because they help govern the fundamental causes (spiritual and material) of the universe. They are directed by the higher choirs of angels.
Principalities, Archangels, and Angels are the lowest choirs of angels. Their duty is to guide that which pertains to human beings (nations and individuals). They are directed by the six choirs above them.
Angels participate in the divine Will which is ultimately what we are called to do too. While angels are higher than human beings by nature, God makes human beings higher than the angels by grace—that is, by the Incarnation (God becoming Man)! The fallen angels resented this divine Will and seek our destruction; the heavenly hosts of angels celebrate this divine Will of God and work to glorify God aiding our salvation.
We have so many angels helping us all the time, especially our guardian angels, whom we should pray to every day! We also have the Archangels—Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael—who are acting powerfully on our behalf too.
In fact, the feast of the Archangels is on Wednesday, September 29th. As a special tribute to them, St. Malachy’s our choir of angelic voices will be singing and honoring them through Solemn Evening Prayer at 6:30 p.m. in the church. I invite you to join us that evening asking the entire choir of Archangels to defend and protect us from the assaults of the Enemy.
I hope you can attend; I hope you renew your own relationship with God through his holy angels!
In Jesus, through Mary and St. Joseph,