I continue on through my thoughts on Catholic Prophecy. To see Parts 1-5, go to the “Prophecy” Category, or click here.
The importance of keeping Prophecy in the proper light cannnot be overstated. We should not get overly consumed about such things, but at the same time we know it is given to us for a reason. Since there is uncertainty, discernment, caution, and prudence are key words to keep in mind whenever reading of such things. As previously discussed, a healthy skepticism is in order, while also fully understanding that God is fully capable of not only transmitting prophecy through chosen subjects, but also carrying out fantastic miracles that might seem like an incredible stretch to us. Always approach with a balanced perspective.
It is exactly for this reason that I am starting with a lengthy view of the Catechism. While some quotes are presented that are directly related to prophecy, some are not. However, those that are not still underly a very important context in which to approach our view of prophetic messages. They address the reasons not only why God woould send such messages to us, but also a better understanding as to why things may (or must) unfold as they do. Some prophetic messages do not paint a pretty picture, and it is critical that we prepare our hearts and minds to be in conformity with God’s will, and have strong faith whenever any hardships come our way, let alone the potential extreme hardships presented in some prophetic messages.
The Catechism discusses Angels. I take a look at that here, because Angels play a central part in Scripture. But more importantly for our subject, they play a central role in the unfolding of prophetic events. Gabriel visited Daniel. Revelation is stock-full of Angels carrying out different commands. Many private revelations indicate a need for devotion to our guardian angels and other angels. We have a particular prayer to St. Michael the Archangel that was written in response to a prophetic vision by Pope Leo XII.
328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.
Believing in angels isn’t optional, as a faithful Catholic. They are not symbols or figments of our imagination. Angels are very real and to be believed in as a truth of faith.
329 St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.'” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”.
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.
This helps explain why we see angels carrying out tasks in the name of God. They are His servants and messengers. We are once again posed with such questions as to why God needs servants and messengers. Can’t He just do everything Himself? Obviously, He could do it all, but that completely defeats the purpose of creating creatures with free will. We have a purpose. God knows the wisdom in this. Angels are creatures of spirit, while we are creatures of flesh (with a soul, of course). But God uses us, too, to do His will. Why not, then, angels carrying out His commands? In this way, He receives glory.
331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him.” …They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?”
Note the reference to the prophetic return of Christ. He will be accompanied by angels. But note also that they are ministering to all those who are to attain salvation. That’s us! (Hopefully…)
332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham’s hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.
333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. …They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been. Again, it is the angels who “evangelize” by proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s Incarnation and Resurrection. They will be present at Christ’s return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.
A pretty good summary of what role angels have already played in history. Note again, the prophetic allusion to Christ’s return, and also the note that Christ’s return will be “announced” by angels.
336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.
Here is a reference to our guardian angels! This is not some little-kid fantasy. Guardian angels are very real. We should all try to improve our relationship with our guardian angel.
One last note. Too often people mistakenly refer to deceased persons as “another angel in heaven.” I know there are probably different levels of literalness meant, but it should be clearly stated that angels are specifically created as spirits, just as we are specifically created as human beings. I suppose it might be possible that the “office” of an angel could be granted to a human being, but it is generally accepted that this office is reserved for the spirits we know as angels. In any case, there are distinct creatures with distinct natures, and even upon death before we receive or immortal bodies, we are not created with the same nature as spirits.
Until next time…