The Holy Angels


Many babies are being baptized here in this month dedicated to the Holy Angels.

Infants have not had time for the world to weary them into boredom, and so human faces are as fascinating to them as angel faces, and a candle is as astonishing as lightning. By their childlike gift of wonder, saints avoid the childishness of cynics, who contradict themselves by wondering why anything should be wonderful.

On the Feast of the Guardian Angels, Pope Benedict XVI said: "The Lord is always nearby and always there throughout the history of humanity, and He also accompanies us through the presence of His Angels." The Pope speaks as the Vicar of Christ, Whose Birth was announced by angels, Who was comforted by angels after His Temptation in the wilderness and His Agony in Gethsemane, Whose Resurrection was announced by angels, and Who had angels tell the disciples after His Ascension to pray instead of staring at the sky. The Pope is a scientist of the soul and, as any true scientist, he is bravely childlike. That is a requirement for discovery. Newton was sufficiently childlike to notice gravity at work. The modern theory that the speed of light is constant and unsurpassable has just been challenged by a claim that neutrinos have been capable of traveling faster. That is beyond me mentally and physically, and it would be childish of me to say that this is true or false, but I do find it wonderful. As angels have an IQ incalculably greater than that of those humans who know more about neutrinos than I do, we must respect them.

Angels can be everywhere. They have no size as we measure things, and so they are vaster than galaxies. This fact is distorted by depictions of them as children with wings. They sometimes appear to us, but in disguise, usually as people, because to see them directly could be overwhelming. What we call angels are the lowest in the order of these pure spirits, and their job is to communicate heavenly information to us. They know God's will, but they only know our thoughts when we pray to them. Since they are pure intelligence, no words are necessary: just thinking about them suffices.

The fallen angels want us to deny the existence of holy angels. Lucifer, like his fellow evil spirits, is miserable with himself. He turns his own name inside out so that the Light Bearer becomes a Bearer of Darkness. He lies, saying that the childlike are childish, and he spreads his darkness by trying to destroy children and saints. But the Word made Flesh, who was "seen by angels” (1 Tim. 3:16), has the last word: "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).




Father George William Rutler. "The Holy Angels." From the Pastor (October 9, 2011).

Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.


Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001.

Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 17 books, including: Cloud of Witnesses - Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Copyright © 2011 Father George W. Rutler

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