Understanding the Heavenly Role of the Angels Among Us
BOOK PICK: His Angels at Our Side: Understanding Their Power in Our Souls and the World
His Angels at Our Side
Understanding Their Power in Our Souls and the World
By Father John Horgan
EWTN Publishing, 2018
304 pages, $18.95
To order: ewtnrc.com or
Angels are a beautiful and comforting creation, praising and serving God while also ministering to mankind.
The angels are mentioned throughout Scripture and reported on by the saints. Average people have stories to tell that suggest or swear that an angel must have been involved.
In his book His Angels at Our Side: Understanding Their Power in Our Souls and the World, Father John Horgan provides an extensive understanding of the angels — who they are, how they acted in Scripture and how God gives them to us to protect us and help us to pray and grow in holiness.
The book is based on the 14-part EWTN television series Angels of God that Mother Angelica — who loved angels so much that she took them in her name — asked Father Horgan to film 20 years ago.
Citing explanations from the Fathers of the Church and Scripture, Father Horgan explained that there are nine choirs of angels with their own proportions of enlightenment. The angels we are probably most familiar with are guardian angels (Oct. 2 feast day) and archangels (Sept. 29 feast day).
Jesus revealed that we are each given an angel of our own: “See that you do not look down on any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
Scripture also reveals that there are seven archangels, specifically naming St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, who defeated Satan, ministered to Jesus, appeared to the Blessed Mother announcing the Incarnation, and interacted with humans.
Angels always see the face of God yet are present for us when we call on them. “They become His ‘wind’ and His ‘Flames of fire’ (Hebrews 1:7),” Father Horgan writes. “They even sometimes become visible to us in fulfilling their mission. Throughout the Old Testament, we see how these great beings brought the message of the Lord to His servants, revealing His plan and disclosing His love.”
Angels are God’s faithful messengers who obey his commands and speak on his behalf. They also are ever-loyal companions, watching over and guiding us.
How could it be that Lucifer, whose name means “light-bearer” of God, chose eternal darkness over the perfection of God? Father Horgan explains that it was through selfishness — choosing himself over reflecting the divine light of God — that Lucifer fell, along with a great multitude of others. “His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth” (Revelation 12:4).
But amid the rebellion, another shout arose: St. Michael the Archangel cried out, “God is all perfect. God is all good. Who is equal to him in wisdom or power? Who is like unto God?”
Revelation 12:7-9 recounts the upheaval in heaven when St. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels, defeating them and casting them down to the Earth. Father Horgan tells us that St. Michael continues to cast the evil one out of God’s presence in the unfolding of God’s plan for the Church and for each of us. Thus we should regularly call on him to protect us from evil.
Lifted by Angels
For us, we have the help of angels to lift us up. Father Horgan encourages us to ask for three gifts to be like the angels: “First, to pray always; second, never to withdraw our face from the face of God; and, third, to live, to act, to move, and to choose always in the presence of God.”
Father Horgan describes the angels as an “unparalleled gift” to whom we should turn to be filled with the riches that Christ lavishes upon his Church. He encourages us to pray daily this simple prayer written 900 years ago:
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
Patti Armstrong writes from North Dakota.
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