St. Paul warned the Galatians not to listen even to an angel from Heaven if he preached any gospel other than what they had already heard. Could a heavenly angel actually do that? No, says St. Vincent of Lerins. But St. Paul means that, even if the impossible did happen, we should never deviate from the one gospel.
These people were wandering around in provinces and cities, carrying their venal errors with them. Some of them had found their way to Galatia, and when the Galatians heard them, they felt sick of the truth and vomited up the manna of Apostolic and Catholic doctrine. They were delighted with the garbage of heretical novelty.
The apostle then had to exercise the authority of his office and deliver his sentence with the utmost severity. “But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
Why does he say “even if we”? Why not “even if I”?
He means even if Peter, or Andrew, or John—in short, the whole company of the apostles—should preach something contrary to what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
What tremendous severity! He spares neither himself nor his fellow apostles, so he may preserve unaltered the faith that was first delivered. Nor is this all. He goes on: “Even if an angel from Heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” For the preservation of the faith as it was delivered, it was not enough just to refer to human beings: he had to take in angels as well. “Even if we, or an angel from Heaven.” Not that the holy angels of Heaven are capable of sinning now. But what he means is this: “Even if what cannot happen did happen—if any one, whoever he may be, should attempt to alter the faith once for all delivered, let him be accursed.” –St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory, 8
Do I seek the help of the angels in the discernment of spirits? Do I recognize that not even an angel will dare to contradict the teaching of Christ’s Church?
Guardian Angel, protect me with your power, and keep me in the light of divine truth.
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