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by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
This issue of the Catholic Faith concentrates on the angels. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of understanding the role of angels in our lives. A good index of loyalty to the Catholic faith is the acceptance of angels as created by God. They are now living in two states of being: those in heaven, who also minister to our needs on earth; and those in hell, who are demons and are bent on seducing the human race from its allegiance to God.
The existence of angels, their spiritual nature, the fact that there are good and bad angels, the fall of the evil spirits of their own free will, and the role of the devil in bringing about the fall of man are doctrines of the Catholic faith solemnly proclaimed by the Church.
It is not surprising that there is a flood of literature on the angels in our society today. As a people become more materialistic, their native intelligence and the grace of God arouse them to a realization that there is more to reality than just what is perceptible by the senses. They come to realize that the dictionary definition of "nonsense" as "things of no importance or value" is not true. The infinite Creator of the universe is not perceptible by the senses. But who in his right mind would say He is nonsense.
The popes of the twentieth century have been especially zealous in promoting devotion to the angels, and warning the faithful against the machinations of the evil spirits.
No one has improved on St. Francis de Sales' exhortation, "Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit for, without being seen, they are present to you."
After all, that is what prayer is all about. It is communication of spirit with spirit. The more we communicate with the angelic spirits who surround us, the more closely we draw to the Almighty Spirit who is our God.
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