Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
Yes. Scripture often speaks of the angels. Christ Himself taught their existence. Human experience of their influence leaves no doubt on the subject. And it is reasonable that God should have completed the hierarchy of created beings by producing purely spiritual creatures in addition to merely material and semi-material beings. Not all evidence depends upon sense-experience. I have never seen an angel. I am not now in a normal condition to see one, and do not expect to do so until I reach heaven. I still belong to the material world. But I believe the word of God, who should know whether or not angels exist.
In that case, of course, you are purely a materialist. Nor only that You are an atheist, for such an assertion denies the very existence of God. God is a pure spirit, and can certainly create beings of a purely spiritual nature.
That is but a concession to an unbelieving rationalism. And it is quite against the Word of God. Scripture insists that they are personal beings. Christ said, "Their angels always see the face of my Father, who is in heaven." Matt. XVIII., 10. Messages and influences are not permanent, and don't see. St. Peter says, "God spared not the angels who sinned." II. Pet. II., 4. Impersonal influences do not sin.
We cannot speak of the form or shape of purely spiritual beings. God has no form or shape. Shape supposes dimensional arrangement, and dimensions suppose quantity of matter. Angels can exert spiritual force, and even will the action of natural physical forces with God's permission. If at times they have appeared to men in bodily forms, they have but assumed appearances not proper to them, and most probably formed from the material atmospheric elements in order to manifest their presence in a way in keeping with man's lower level.
No. God told the Jews to carve angels, with wings spread, to represent to men those swift spiritual beings to whom distance is as nothing. Exod. XXV., 18. But God did not say that they were exact representations of angels.
Angels are purely spiritual beings. A brick is a purely material being. Man, with body and soul, is partly material and partly spiritual. God has no material body, and is purely spiritual. To complete the external manifestations of His perfections, He created beings of a purely spiritual nature—angels. The angels, then, are definite beings which have the qualities belonging to our souls, but not those of our bodies. Now our souls have two chief faculties—intelligence and will, and these are possessed by angels. But since they are purely spiritual they cannot be seen by our eyes any more than can God Himself.
Yes. Christ took an ordinary little child and said, "Despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father." Matt. XVIII., 10. There is no reason why one child should have an angel appointed to guard it rather than any other, and no reason why an angel, once appointed, should desert its charge during life. In fact, the farther a child wanders from God as it grows up, the more the need of a guardian angel's care and protection.
No. Angels are not supposed to stop earthquakes. They co-operate in the work of our salvation, inspiring good thoughts, and making us uneasy when temptations suggest themselves. I do not disbelieve in angels because they do not do what they are not supposed to do. A guardian angel could, were it God's will, prevent temporal calamities, but that is not ordinary, and is not ordinarily to be expected. Temporal and natural events depend upon temporal and natural causes. Nor do temporal calamities really matter. It is the supernatural life of the soul that really counts. It is enough to remark that God has appointed certain supernatural means for our supernatural safety, and amongst those means are guardian angels.
All who are Christians have to admit that God has done much for men by the ministry of angels. The body of a Christian is holy. It has been consecrated by Baptism, and will one day rise again glorious and immortal. The Church speaks in a human way, and confides the body, which the relatives cannot keep to the custody of God's angels. It is a very beautiful thought. But when you speak of an angel by every grave you evolve a difficulty from your imagination. An angel is not a creature subject to the laws of space. If you picture some diminutive winged animal sitting perpetually upon a tombstone, you are entertaining a ludicrous thought. But such a picture in no way corresponds with reality, and there is not a Christian who would not laugh at your simplicity. An angel is a spirit whose being is not commensurate with space, and whose powers are of the intellectual and volitional orders.An angel could operate in London and New York at one and the same time, yet ever remaining in heaven. And when the Church commits a grave to the care of an angel she asks that that angel may intercede for the soul which inhabited the body we bury with so much sorrow, and commits the body to its care also since it will co-operate in the resurrection of that body as God's ministering spirit in due time.