Witness to angels; Angels: Day 365

We know that Christ and the angels have been really present with us, says St. John Chrysostom. What will happen when we’re called to judgment and have to report that all we ever cared about was money?There really are many people who seem to think they’re never going to die. They set about building and planning in extreme old age—but when will they take death into consideration?It will be no small punishment that we were called to bear witness, but were not able to bear witness to the thin … [Read more...]

The praise of the angels; Angels: Day 364

In this long hymn of praise from an ancient liturgy (attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite), we join our praise with the praises of all the beings in Heaven.The voiceless, by their silence, the vocal, by their voices, words and hymns, perpetually bless you, because you are essentially good and beyond all praise, existing in your essence incomprehensibly. I, your visible and sensible crea- ture, praise you, and also the intellectual creature, placed above sensible percep- tion. Heaven and … [Read more...]

Delight in God alone; Angels: Day 363

Continuing his meditation on holy angels and people, St. Augustine says that what we enjoy in someone who is holy is God himself, the only true source of happiness.But when you have joy of someone in God, it is God rather than that person that you enjoy. You enjoy God who makes you happy, and you rejoice to have come to him in whose presence you place your hope of joy.This is why Paul says to Philemon, “Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord” (Philem. 20). For if he had no … [Read more...]

Angels as oxen; Angels: Day 362

Interpreting Psalm 8, St. Augustine suggests that the “sheep  and oxen” put under Christ are human beings and angels—angels  being called oxen because of their incessant work in spreading the word of God.“You have put all things under his feet,” he says (Ps. 8:6). And when he writes to the Hebrews he uses this very testimony from this Psalm, when he wants them to understand that all things are put under our Lord Jesus Christ in such a way that nothing is left out (Heb. 2:8).And yet he doe … [Read more...]

God alone is good by nature; Angels: Day 361

“Why  do you call me good?” Jesus asked the ruler of the synagogue. St. Cyril of Alexandria explains what Jesus meant: If you think I’m only a man, then you’re giving me a title that belongs to God alone. Even the angels are “good” only by their participation in God.He flatters Jesus, and attempts to deceive him, pretending to be well- disposed toward him. And what does the Omniscient reply? He says, “Why do you call me good? None is good but God alone” (Luke 18:19).You see how this ruler … [Read more...]

Love God for himself; Angels: Day 360

God is rich in everything, says St. Ambrose. Everything belongs to him. But though Earth is beautiful, and Heaven is beautiful, and the angels are beautiful, what God promises us is not these beautiful things, but something infinitely more beautiful: himself.And yet, Brethren, our God never can be poor. He is rich. He made all things—Heaven and Earth, the sea and the angels. In the heaven, whatever we see, whatever we cannot see—he made it.But still, we ought not to love these riches, but … [Read more...]