Christ alone can give divine power to us; Angels: Day 308

Often the Fathers use the angels as examples of  great but limited power, contrasting the abilities of superior but still created beings with the omnipotence of God. Here St. Cyril of Alexandria argues that Christ is fully God because He can do what no angelic being can do: grant us power over demons and sickness. “The fruit of good deeds is honorable”—that’s a true saying. If you wish to lead a life as pure and undefiled as it’s possible for… Read more

An ancient prayer for modern times

When a book arrived in my mailbox about the Angelus prayer, I had to agree with my wife Laura when she said, “Really an entire book on the Angelus?” Little did I realize how quickly I would take those words back. Indeed, the Angelus prayer is short but it’s richness is hidden behind its simplicity. Jared Dees gives the Angelus prayer the attention it deserves in his book Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life. “Praying… Read more

Hear the music of the endless holiday in Heaven; Angels: Day 307

We hire a band for a wedding or a birthday, St. Augustine says, and everyone who hears it knows that something special is going on. But if  we listen and don’t let the world distract us, we can hear the music of  the angels singing at that endless festival in Heaven. Here, where we have festivals just for the fun of it, we put bands or sing- ers in front of our houses, or any kind of music that tempts us… Read more

Brought near the holy angels; Angels: Day 306

With the Incarnation, says St. Cyril of Alexandria, the Church below is made one with the Church above. Christ has opened Heaven for us, and we have been brought near the angels. And the Evangelist says that the Heavens were opened, as if they had been closed a long time. For Christ said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” ( John 1:51). Since… Read more

Flying Home; Angels: Day 305

St. Augustine says that our real home is the Zion in Heaven, which is the bliss of  the angels. Though  we live here on earth for the present, we can go back home, if we wish, on wings of love. Zion was a particular city. It fell, and among its ruins certain saints lived according to the flesh. But the true Zion, the true Jerusalem (Zion is the same as Jerusalem), is “eternal in the Heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1). She is… Read more

The incorruptible riches of the angels; Angels: Day 304

The two greatest commandments, as Jesus taught us, sum up the whole of the Scriptures: love God and love your neighbor. True believers who remember those commandments,  says  St. Augustine, are promised the incorruptible riches of the angels. All is contained in these brief sentences: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” In this love, all our holy fathers, patriarchs, prophets,… Read more

Anticipate the angels’ work; Angels: Day 303

At the end of time, says St. Augustine, the angels will separate the wheat from the chaff. Until then, we’re all mixed up together. But we can anticipate their work by separating ourselves from everything wicked. As long as the chaff is being bruised with the wheat, as long as the bad fish swim together with the good in the nets of the Lord, till the time of separation comes, it is your duty rather to endure the mixture of the bad… Read more

Off the Shelf 023 with Jared Dees

Jared Dees is the creator of the popular website The Religion Teacher, which provides practical resources and effective teaching strategies to religious educators. A respected graduate of the Alliance for Catholic Education program at the University of Notre Dame, Dees earned master’s degrees in education and theology, both from Notre Dame. He has volunteered for and worked in a wide variety of Catholic ministries, including Catholic schools, parish religious education, youth ministry, campus ministry, RCIA, and adult faith formation. Dees is the content… Read more

The holy temple, below and above; Angels: Day 302

We make up the Church below, says St. Augustine, and the angels make up the Church above. But Christ came down to us and took on human form to make us the equals of the angels. “I bow down toward your holy temple” (Ps. 138:2). What holy temple? The temple in which we will dwell, where we will worship. But certainly, God obviously dwells in the angels. Therefore, when our joy is in spiritual things rather than earthly, and it takes… Read more

Imitating the hymns of angels; Angels: Day 301

The historian Socrates Scholasticus relates the traditional story of how responsive singing began in the liturgy. According to the tradition, St. Ignatius had a vision of angels responding to each other in song. We must now however make some allusion to the origin of this custom in the church of responsive singing. Ignatius, third bishop of Antioch in Syria from the Apostle Peter, who also had conversations with the Apostles themselves, saw a vision of angels hymning in alternate chants… Read more

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