Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Archangel Michaelerkirche, Vienna
Being an LSP isn't just about horses, guns and underhand attacks on the "agitprop abomination" (thanks Silverfiddle) that is TEC and the extra-planetary ACoC. No, sometimes it involves reflection on the Angels. What are these creatures?

If you're a dogmatic atheist the answer's simple - they're figments of overheated imaginations. Madeleine Murray O'Hair and Margaret Sanger probably thought that, but to the faithful they're something else again. 

Here's some basic background:

Being spirits, we can say that angels are invisible, immaterial essences and therefore not bound by physical constraints. However, we learn from Scripture that angels interact with the material world and can assume bodily appearance, for example, rolling away the stone of the empty tomb (Matthew 28:2; Mark 16:3-4).

O'Hair, not an angel
Likewise, they appear as messengers of the Divine will and harbingers of His judgement, notoriously so in John's Apocalypse, where they exercise power and control of the elements to bring about the consummation of the Kingdom. Possessed of intellect, emotion and volition and living in a permanent state of heavenly bliss, they act in harmony with the will of God against the forces of wickedness - not least that of Satan and his apostate angels whose end is destruction.

Tradition, relying on Scripture and the teaching of the Church Fathers, assigns nine ranks to the angelic host:  Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels, with each rank having a different function. Seraphim, for example, worship before the throne of God (Isaiah 6:2-3; Revelation 4:8), while the Archangel Michael leads the angelic army against Satan (Revelation 12:7).

Again, Tradition assigns each person and place an angel, from heavenly bodies to Airborne units.

Archangel Michael, Airborne Patron
And, if you want to learn more about angelic natures it's probably best to check out the Medieval schoolmen who devoted great mental energy to the thing. I find it interesting and suspect that the subjects of the inquiry served as vehicles for broader metaphysical speculation - but my preference aside, it seems abstruse  and fantastical to most people today.

So, granted belief, what are we to make of the angels?

On the one hand, it seems comforting to think that we have supernatural guardians, but when we reflect on their implacable goodness perhaps an element of healthy respect and awe is also in order.

Remember the Cherubim in Genesis 3:24 - they were possessed of a flaming sword. Not to be conjured with lightly.

God bless,



darlin said...

LSP, I find your words fascinating and enlightening. This is a much deeper level of awareness than my mind has gone, I believe in angles simply because I have seen them when I was a wee child. I remember it vividly to this day and one day I hope to get an artist who can paint me a picture as I describe what I seen.

I feel angels presence and know that they are near. There are many unexplainable events which have transpired within my life, ones where even the medical experts have no explanation. Approximately 4 years ago one of the top specialists in Western Canada who viewed my test results and could find no medical explanation as to why I was still alive, never mind in good health, finally put his hands in the air and said "This is a miracle." I almost fell off my chair to hear this from a man of science who has to have an explanation for everything yet couldn't find one. The angels and God were near throughout my experiences. I know this because of the power of prayer, and how I felt my hand being held throughout my stay in palliative care... even when I was all alone. There were many people were praying for me when I was deathly ill.

You bet I believe in angels, we all have them and I know that today my angels are pretty happy, they don't have to put in so much overtime!

Thank you for the enlightenment. Can I copy your words to look at again from time to time? I won't use them anyplace but I find what you say to be fascinating.

God bless.

greg tingey said...

No supernatural manifestations needed!
Just go back to the originals, so to speak.

"Angel" means messenger of truth.
"Devil" means slanderer or liar.

So, anyone at all, who speaks truth, and reveals true knowledge, is, in that sense, an angel.
Anyone who deliberately lies to decieve is a devil.

If we all remembered that, we might actually be getting somewhere!

LSP said...

Thanks for your comment Darlin - feel free to use my simple words any way you like; and I'm glad you found them helpful. Mysterious beings, angels...

So good that you experienced a miracle - I think they're more common than some would imagine, but rare for all that. Anyway, what a blessing that you should have recovered!

God bless.

LSP said...

Thanks Tingey - far too much devilry going on at present in the world...

Stay on the side of the angels.

darlin said...

LSP, thank you and may you always have an Angel by your side! :-)

LSP said...

Thanks Darlin - and to you also.

Third News said...

I don't know about Margaret Sanger's death but certainly, Madalyn Murray O'Hair's was bloodcurdling.

If O'Hair did sadistically witness her son, and granddaughter's murder, she would have begged for their life, and ultimately called out for their quick death -at the very least, she would have known it was eminent.

Who would God send an angel to? A country pastor, who likely will die in a smug peace? Or, a non-believer, whose despair was twined with a final heart-searching?

I don't think it is evil not to have faith, or to simply run out of it, but, an Atheist's passion to destroy where another finds their peace, is viscerally vexing.

Though, I've come to realize that self-punishment is not limited to the analgesic lull of alcohol or drugs.

Those who live bitterly, eventually reach the tachyphylaxis with their poison of choice, and I'm certain that an angel would hear their call - is that not a sincere prayer?

Do you think God would want to know why you, or I, chose not hear it too?

LSP said...

Thoughtful response to a rather low-level post, 3rd News.

The O'Hair saga's grisly, and with you, I'm not aware of the quality of Sanger's death. She had an episcopalian funeral, interestingly. Make of that what you will.

Would God send an angel to the anguished atheist? Why not? Lost sheep, sort of thing. Prodigal Son, type of deal. Regardless, the angel's already there, so I suppose it'd be a matter of sending extras?

But would the person who has made a career out of hating God be pleased to meet his rep? As you suggest, judgement and punishment is a curious thing.

We must thank God for being all merciful.

Third News said...

Though I know only Margaret Sanger's name, I’ve read your noting of her paraphiliac nature, and that is so indicative of a women living out a guilt through self-punishment.

I don’t understand Anglican church rites but many of the ‘public’ Kennedys are cafeteria Catholics, along with Nancy Pelosi and Joseph Biden, both of whom took communion at Pope Francis’ St. Peter’s Square installation mass.

Of course an Atheist would rejoice, and more so, than a person who was never tested. Has it not been your own experience that converts are the 'super-Christians' in your church?

It is my unprofessional observation that a follower who has lived their religion through parental/community osmosis is often liturgically less proficient.

I've never heard that angels live among us -I will keep that in mind when I'm tempted, or I forget my knife when running

BTW, I'm certain I've asked a writing question twice but perhaps I've lost both bookmarks?

LSP said...

Don't be guilty, 3rd News, unless you've done something wrong. Of course that's easy for me to say, but the power of absolution runs deep.

Liturgics aside, the angelic presence is all-surrounding, from birth to death. At one aspect terrifying, at another the reverse.

And be careful how you run with all those steely knives.

I write the odd sclerotic piece for the trad religious press. And you?

Third News said...

I love the idea of an "all-surrounding" angelic presence; it reminds me of a poem I've written -forgotten till now.

General absolution has an appeal in that I'm a private person, and frankly, the idea of a small village priest hearing your sins, and dissimulating not to recognize one's accent, is unappealing

Despite privity, any man is all too human, and a Rhadamanthus for the living!