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 up a song to God to sing before the angels, that very ass … [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...]

Work like an Angel; Angels: Day 300

If you’re lazy now in doing good works, asks St. Clement of Rome, how will you look the Lord in the eye when he comes to give you your reward? Remember how the countless angels stand around him, always  ready to serve him.The good servant receives the bread of his labor with confidence; the lazy and slothful servant cannot look his employer in the face. We must therefore be prompt in doing good; for all things come from the Lord. He forewarns us in these words: “Behold, your salvation comes; … [Read more...]

Join your heart with the angels; Angels: Day 299

Even when you work at earthly things, says St. Augustine, you’re a citizen of Heaven if you have your heart there and not on Earth.Look and see the two kinds of people. One kind works, and the other they work among. One kind weighs their hearts down, the other joins their hearts with angels. The one trusts in the earthly things that are so common in the world, but the other puts their confidence in heavenly things that have been promised by God, who never lies.But these two kinds of pe … [Read more...]

Secret wisdom of God; Angels: Day 298

What an honor for the human race! God reveals his most secret wisdom to the angels at the same time as to us, says St. John Chrysostom.“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 2:7). Why is it “secret” and “hidden”? For surely Christ says, “what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops” (Matt. 10:27). How then does he call it a secret?Because neither angel nor archangel, nor any other created power, knew of it before it actually took place. This is why he says, “tha … [Read more...]

Let everyone see that you’re a citizen of heaven; Angels: Day 297

St. John Chrysostom tells us that the best way to draw back those who don’t come to church is not by preaching to them, but by showing them the difference the Mass makes in our lives. If they see in our behavior that we’ve been let into Heaven to sing with the choirs of angels, they’ll come running.I’ll never stop begging you, with all earnestness, as I have often done before: Bring your brethren to us! Urge the wanderers! Advise them not just by words, but by deeds!The teaching that come … [Read more...]