Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal George's Network Archive

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mystery of Angels

The feasts of the archangels and of the guardian angels this week give comfort and inspire awe.  The angels, who fill the pages of Scripture aren’t cupids; they’re powerful with the strength of pure spirit.

Going through airport security with a Roman collar on sometimes occasions conversations.  One of the TSA officers in New York recently asked me whether the devil was an angel.  When I said he is, the conversation turned to how angels can sin.

Our struggle to become saints is with “principalities and powers,” as St. Paul explains.  There are evil spirits.  But the angels on our side accompany us personally and collectively.  Lincoln, in a phrase also used by President Obama in his inaugural address, spoke of  “the better angels of our nature.”  It’s an intriguing phrase because I don’t know if Lincoln believed in guardian angels, and to speak of the human spirit as angelic isn’t helpful in understanding the difference between angels and ourselves.

Like any mystery, angels raise more questions than they answer.  It’s good to remember, however, that the universe is literally filled with persons we can’t see but whose love for us we can count on.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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