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So far the Catechism of Perseverance, which we have followed almost verbatim.

“He has given His angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest, perhaps, thou hurt thy foot against a stone." These words of the royal prophet and sweet singer of Israel, although pointing especially to our Saviour, as is seen by Satan's quotation after the temptation, yet are equally applicable to each one of us. Our Saviour Himself says of the little ones that "their angels do behold the Face of my Father who is in Heaven."

The love which these guardians bear us is so ardent that the prophet asks: “Who makest thy ministers a burning fire ?" According to St. Augustine their love is beyond all conception; it is fanned into a flame by the consideration of God, of man, and of themselves. It is the perfection of charity. They are so ravished by the ineffable dignity, beauty and loveliness of the Sacred Humanity that, according to St. Peter (1 : 12), the more they gaze upon it the more they love it, the more they would like to love it, the more they consecrate themselves to it, the more perfect still they would wish to make their holocaust, "on whom the angels desire to look.” And again," when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith : “And let all the angels of God adore Him?"

St. Augustine calls them the "enlighteners of our souls, the protection of our bodies, the warden of our goods." In Jacob's blessing upon his grandsons, "the angel that delivereth me from all evils, bless these boys,” we have authority for begging their blessing upon our avocations and ourselves. And in the angel who walked in the fiery furnace with the three children we see how they sympathize with us in our afflictions. Also in Isaias : “Behold they that see shall cry without, the angel of peace shall weep bitterly.” But also–O blessed and most sweet comforting ! " there is joy among the angels of heaven over one sinner who repenteth more than over ninety-nine just."

How triumphantly do Peter's words sound, after his liberation : "Now I know in very deed that the Lord hath sent His angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jews.” And Judith proclaimed, with the same triumphant spirit, to the people how she had trusted to her guardian angel: “As the Lord liveth, His angel hath been my keeper both going hence and abiding there and returning from thence, hither.”

"Our weakness," adds St. Hilary, “could not resist the malice of the evil spirits without the assistance of our guardian angels." "God aiding,” says St. Cyril, “ we have nothing to fear from the powers of darkness, for it is written: the angel of the Lord will encamp round those who fear Him and will deliver them.”

“Our guardian angels,” to quote Origen again, "offer our prayers to God tlırough Jesus Christ, and they also pray for him who is confided to them.” “It is certain,” says St. Hilary, " that the angels preside at the prayers of the faithful." And St. Augustine once more: "The angels not only bring us the favors of God, but they also offer Him our prayers.” Not that God is ignorant of them, but the more easily to obtain for us the gifts of His mercy and the blessings of His grace.”

St. John saw, as he tells us in the Apocalypse, “another angel came and stood before the altar having a golden censer, and there was given him much incense, that he should offer the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God, and the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God, from the hand of the angel.

But above all, in his gracious, tender patience, his pity and compassion, as type of angelic compassion, stands forth the starcrowned Raphael.

This dispensation is not the least among the adorable rulings of God's mercy to men. These friends of ours, closer and more intimate than any mortal companion can be, never leave our side. Some favored few among us, of exceptional holiness have been permitted, either to see their guardian in material form, to realize his guiding by sensible touch, or to receive his advice through their sense of hearing. The fathers do not agree as to the extent of the protection of the angels to all men. Some think that each human being in existence has a guardian who never leaves him ; others that only the just are so favored and only for the time that they persevere in justice. Sin seems to move them to a distance. St. Basil says: "The angels are always near each faithful soul, unless they are banished by evil actions." He says also that the guardian angels assist those more especially who give themselves to fasting. St. Thomas says that no sinner is entirely abandoned by his guardian angel.

Adversaries of the doctrine of the invocation of saints and angels seize upon the use of the word worship, as implying an adoration as to God. In this they do not distinguish between worship and worship; the Church does so, very strongly. Supreme homage or worship has, in the language of the schools been denominated Latria. There is a lower honor or worship which we are even commanded in the Decalogue to give to superiors and rulers, religious and civil. How much more is such honor owing to angels and saints, whom God is pleased to honor as His friends?

1 From the Greek darpeia,—the worship due to God only;—from dampeów, to serve, to worship. (See Rock's " Hierurgia,” p. 227.)

In the Western Church there was no such difficulty of misinterpretation of the honor paid as there was in the East. Here the devotion has grown with the centuries. The mention of the Angels is frequent in the Psalter, of which the canonical office consists. There is a commemoration of them in the Preface and in the Canon of the Mass and so incorporated was the reverence of them into the daily prayers of the people and the festivities of the Church, that no special day was assigned in which to honor them for some years. Afterwards the 2d of October was made the Feast of the Guardian Angels, setting this special phalanx of the heavenly army aside from the others. But as the Church, gathering the months into her hands, transforms them into spiritual blossoms and with them weaves an unfading wreath to lay at the Tabernacle door, so the month of October is the flower of the angels and during its thirty-one days, they are kept particularly in the minds and hearts of her children.

White winged angels meet the child
On the vestibule of life,”

And they follow it through all the years allotted to it upon this terrestrial globe; nor does the bright spirit leave its charge until the soul, having been withdrawn from its earthly tenement, receives its sentence, whether for weal or woe.

This teaching regarding the angels is only one of the many charms with which our Mother would charm her children. In fact, the Catholic lives in an ideal world of which those outside the Fold have small conception, a world of ideals and symbolswhich elevates, consoles and purifies—a world within this one of human wants and weaknesses, yet above and beyond it and by means of which the Mighty Mother draws her little ones as by silken cords up to the tender Heart of her heavenly Bridegroom.

“Thou art all beautiful, O my Beloved, and there is no spot in thee !" Such is the Church, the Pillar and Ground of the Faith.


The first poet to commemorate these ethereal and intangible creations was the Shepherd-king of Israel. But at the mention of them in connection with the literature belonging to them, one naturally turns to Milton and his immortal epic. To be sure, he gives us angels as grim, stern and solemn as himself and his poem; here and there, however, will break forth a picture of airy grace and beauty which astonishes. He evidently shared St. Thomas' idea regarding the action of the angels in the creation; as in the tenth book of "Paradise Lost :"

VOL. XIII. -43

« Such was their song,
While the Creator, calling forth by name
His mighty angels, gave them several charge,

As sorted best with present things." This description of the fallen spirits thrills with a horror which fixes rather upon the punishment than the crime, and he portrays his Lucifer more the proud, rebellious mortal than the incarnation of sin. In reading Milton's Satan, we are more inclined to pity than to blame:

“ What time his pride
Had cast him out of heaven with all his host
Of rebel angels, by whose aid, aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,

He trusted to have equalled The Most High.". Picture the conquering spirits hanging motionless amid the blue empyrean, while with awe-struck vision they watched his fall. And in that fall did some, ere the sulphurous fumes of the fiery lake hid them from their agonized gaze, turn, touched by a too late repentance, one backward glance at the crystal battlements of their lost inheritance, the glory and the beauty of which no human tongue can portray ? utter a cry for mercy which mingled and lost itself in the triumphant hosannas of the celestial army?

And Lucifer ?

Did an all too late submission come to him with the remembrance of his vacant place, up there, before the Face of God? Or, perhaps, as he, in his unconquered insolence, proclaimed that it were better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven-even his own vaunting words may have aroused the fell despair which was ever after to be his other self and forced him to exclaim :

“Me miserable! which way shall I fly

Infinite wrath and Infinite despair?
Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven."

The battle over, what joy amid the triumphant choirs ! What sheathing of celestial swords, what massing of heavenly standards. How the archangelic cohorts must have awaked the soft zephyrs of that higher Eden, as, on silvery pinions they swept through the radiant masses to meet and escort the victor to his place before the throne, casting one glance of regret, perhaps, towards the vacant spot where erst resplendent Lucifer shone amid his princely compeers!

Not all the physical perfections yet left to fallen humanity, were they centred in one being, could compare with those of the first of the star-crowned seven. As, however, in the performance of his

Creator's behests, Michael has shown himself to us a young man clothed in full and radiant panoply-so only can we bring him before our mental vision. But even then we dare not raise our eyes to the splendor of that heavenly armor, else we lose all power of future seeing

Come we now to the earthly Eden, and entering walk beneath the umbrageous branches of the tree of knowledge. The Creator's task is done, and he has supplemented it by the last and loveliest of his handiwork, our fair, first mother, Eve.

Ah, how fair she was! Fair with the beauty of her womanhood, fresh from the hand of her Maker-fairer still with the beauty of that perfect sinlessnessa beauty the like of which was to bless this earth of ours but once again in all the myriads of her daughters -only once again in her, the second Eve, who was to crush the serpent's head and give the world a Saviour. We are left by Holy Writ to imagine only how the angels must have watched and marvelled over the work of these strange six days. That they were not all jealous of the love with which the Son of God even then loved the new creature risen from the dust of the young earth, we know through their subsequent obedient service. But we do not see them in the garden until the last sad hour.

The poets, however, take a greater license: Milton establishes Gabriel upon an alabaster rock near the eastern gate, a vigilant sentinel; to him when "twilight grey hath in her sombre livery all things clad," comes Uriel with his cherubim to keep the night watches. Within, with the eye of faith, we may see them, more numerous than the sands of the sea-shore, crowding around that man and woman. The soft movement of their pinions ruffles the air of Eden; the trees bend and sway to it while they look forth from among their luxuriant foliage; they sweep over the surface of the waters and the streams ripple beneath the stirring of their wings smiling back at them. The light from their benignant faces reflects itself in all nature, and adds to the brilliancy of newly created sun and moon. Entranced, they follow every act, listen to every word, note every footstep. Some, assuming an appearance similar to that of this marvellous pair, but still retaining their ethereal character, alight with airy tread upon the sward and walk beside them, entrancing in their turn the objects of their solicitude by the charming of angelic voices recounting the wonders of the heavenly paradise of which their own is but a faint reflection, Alas! that the cunning of the serpent should evade their loving vigilance !

“ What sudden turns,
What strange vicissitudes in the first leaf
Of man's sad history! to-day most happy;
And ere to-morrow's sun has set, most abject!
How scant the space between the vast extremes!

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