THE ANGELS OF GOD
By: The Right Reverend Father Michael D. Jordan
On November 8th The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the feast day of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Michael and Gabriel are the captains of the bodiless powers in heaven. In the Scripture we have many references to the angels of God. We know there are vast quantities of angels at the beck and call of God.
It was the Archangel Michael who led the other angels in casting Satan from Heaven, into the bottomless pit. Archangel Michael is always depicted with a sword because he is a heavenly warrior for God. Archangel Gabriel is known as the messenger. It will be Gabriel who will announce the return of Jesus Christ at His glorious Second Coming.
In the Gospel according to St. Matthew 26:53 Jesus tells His disciples when they try to prevent the guards from taking Jesus away: "Do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"
It was Gabriel who told the Virgin Mary that she was going to give birth to the Son of God. Angels proclaimed the Birth of Jesus Christ. It was angels who ministered to Jesus Christ when He fasted in the desert and was tempted by Satan.
The priest prays that we will receive a Guardian Angel several times in the Divine Liturgy every Sunday. "For an angel of peace, a faithful guide and guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord." The people respond with "Grant this, O Lord". Life without guardian angels would be very treacherous. We are defended from a myriad misfortunes by our guardian angels. Iím sure you have all experienced times when, if it hadnít been for your guardian angel, you would have suffered injury or death.
We pray for an angel of peace specifically, because not all angels are good. Satan has his band of angels. We read about them in the Gospel of St. Matthew 25:41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" We certainly donít want one of Satanís angels around us if we can help it. Most of the time; however, when we are tempted, it is the work of an angel of darkness, who does the bidding of Satan.
Apparently, our guardian angels report back to God concerning us, and if we are victims of hate or injustice at the hands of others, the angels bear witness before God to the evil acts done against those they protect.
Matthew 18:10 "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
These are the words of Jesus Christ. What does He mean by them? We are not to despise humble Christian brethren, because their guardian angels always see the face of God, not in His divine essence, but in His divine glory, His energy, according to the measure of their capacity. Only the Son and the Holy Spirit can behold Him perfectly. It is not the nature of God, but the weakness of mankind which requires the angelsí service and protection. They are sent for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.
It is guardian angels who will escort us to heaven as they escorted poor Lazarus to the Bosom of Abraham: Luke 16:22 "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;"
The angels are assistants that carry out the will of God, their job is to watch over us, protect us, all the while serving the Almighty awesome God. Usually, we go about our daily business without ever thinking about our guardian angels. On Monday, when we honor the angels, make a resolution to honor your guardian angel with your gratitude for their unfailing devotion to your souls well being and your bodily safety.
The Eastern Orthodox prayer book has a prayer to your Guardian Angel, it goes like this:
"O Angel of Christ, holy guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me everything wherein I have offended you every day of my life, and protect me from all influence and temptation of the evil one. May I never more anger God by any sin. Pray for me to the Lord, that He may make me worthy of the grace of the All-holy Trinity, and of the Most blessed Theotokos, and of all the Saints." Amen.
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