Praying with the Holy Angels
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Created for Adoration
The Angels in heaven behold constantly the face of GOD (cf. Mt. 18,10). For adoration they were created, adoration is their fulfillment. They live for the magnification of GOD’s glory. Their entire being and all their activities are immersed in the holiness of GOD. They are eternally one with GOD (cf. Jn 17, 21-22), enjoying a happiness absolutely beyond the comprehension of any but those who receive it. Even while they are watching over the entire creation, even while they are assisting us in our trials and battles against the forces of darkness, they never divert their face from the face of GOD. Indeed, this loving, adoring union with GOD is the source, not only of all their beatitude, but also of their love for us, and of all the grace, light and help which they communicate to us.
Models for Mankind
Most of all, we ought to learn adoration from the holy angels, for mankind too was created for the adoration and glorification of GOD. We have a harder time of it, because we cannot see GOD, because we can adore only in the obscurity of faith. The Angels, therefore, help us and teach us to pray with them: “Blessing, and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our GOD for ever and ever!” (Apoc 7, 12) The Angel can properly fulfill all his duties only because he does not turn his countenance away from GOD, because he remains immersed in perpetual adoration. For our own prayer we can learn these things from the example of the Angel:
(1) to pray always,
(2) to never withdraw our countenance from GOD,
(3) to live constantly in the presence of GOD.
Here is how we can pray always:
(1) by remaining united with and doing GOD’s will;
(2) by offering up ejaculations during work, by directing our spirit to GOD,
(3) by offering all our works to GOD, especially every cross and hardship.
JESUS taught His disciples that “they ought always to pray and not to lose heart” (LK 18,1). Let your prayer and your work be a pleasing sacrifice before GOD; and offer it in HIM and with HIM and through HIM.
The Angels Carry our Prayers Before GOD
The adoration of mankind is carried aloft by the holy Angels. Through their ministry our prayer is enhanced and strengthened as it is presented to GOD. St. Raphael speaks thus to Tobias: “When you prayed with tears, and buried the dead, and left your dinner standing,… I offered your prayer to the Lord” (Tob. 12,12). In the holy liturgy we pray that the Angel might carry our prayers before GOD. The Angel not only presents our prayer, but he bears it aloft in a precious vessel. The four angels “fell down before the Lamb, having each a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Apoc. 5,8). The prayer of an angel is like a fire, which he holds flaming up out of the vessel of his spiritual nature. This vessel stands for the entire being of the Angel. Now into this vessel the Angel places our prayer.
The fire of our adoration burns together with the fire of the Angel: “Another Angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden censer: and there was given to him much incense, that he might offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the altar which is before the throne. And with the prayers of the saints there went up before GOD from the Angel’s hand the smoke of the incense” (Apoc. 8, 2-4).
In his ministry the Angel is conscientious and faithful. GOD beholds us together with our Guardian Angel as though we were one. This unity also has its specific traits. No being in heaven or on earth is better suited to our own distinct individuality than our own Guardian Angel. This is why devotion to the Guardian Angel is particularly profitable. In him we find help and protection; he is our most beautiful compliment. Our poor, stammering prayers receive their most perfect form in his adoration. In the future, whenever we pray, let us remember to invite our Guardian Angel. He wills surely to pray with us and hear our prayers up to GOD, lending them some of his own splendor.
This Ministry is a Joy for the Angel
It is an enriching ministry for the Angel to carry our prayers before GOD. Consider, that prayer come forth from your heart, from that heart which GOD loves and in which He dwells. This is why the Angel so gladly carries our prayers. He feels therein the love and the presence of GOD. He rejoices to carry this fire, even though there is only a small glowing of the warmth of love therein. Mediatorship is co-natural to the Angel, and now out of his supernatural union with GOD grace also flows to man. This flowing communication of grace is a beatitude of the heavenly life. What a joy it is, to be able to bear, to channel the stream of GOD’s love to another!
Let us not forget to thank the Angel for his assistance!