About the angels.

On this feast day of Archangel Michael, and all the bodiless hosts, I
thought I would write a little bit about the angels. This is not by any
means a complete treatment, but just so semi-random ideas that I think
are important or interesting. 

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Gen 1:1)

The angels were created as part of the ?heavens¦, above. They are part
of the invisible (for the most part), spiritual world. They were all
created before God proceeded refine His creation of the earth. 

Angels are free, intelligent beings. 

They have a will, and are able to choose to follow God or disobey Him.
It seems that because of their nature, once they choose, they do not
change their way of life. All angelsl chose to follow of not follow
Lucifer when he revolted against God. From that point on, their
personality vis-Ž-vis God is fixed v they either obey God or do not obey
Him. I have always tried to explain this by an analogy about jumping off
a cliff. Before you jump, you may choose to jump or not jump, but once
you have jumped, your fate is fixed v you will fall. 

Demons are angels that hate God.

They are part of the 2/3 of the Angelic host that followed Lucifer when
he revolted against God. The Archangel Michael led the resistance
against Lucifer to cast him out of heaven. This is an instructive story,
If anybody reminds me, we can discuss it Sunday. 

?Angel¦ means ?MESSENGER¦

God tasks them with delivering news to all mankind, individually and
collectively. How they communicate with us is a mystery, but since we
are also part spirit, we can communicate with them. 

Angels are not, in the strictest sense of the word, ?bodiless¦. 

Only God is pure Spirit. Angels were created, and according to the
Fathers, have a very fine body, which we cannot perceive with our eyes
of flesh. 

All Christians have a guardian angel. 

In the prayers for the making of a catechumen, we pray ?Yoke unto
his/her life a radiant angel-¦ From this point onwards, we certainly
have a guardian angel who protects us in ways we cannot fully
understand. 

If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell
on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us. St. John
Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration
Monastery, 1978), Step28: On Holy and Blessed Prayer, the Mother of
Virtues, and on the Attitude of Mind and Body in Prayer)

In the presence of an invisible spirit, the body becomes afraid; but in
the presence of an angel, the soul of the humble is filled with joy.
Therefore, when we recognize the presence from the effect, let us
quickly hasten to prayer, for our good guardian has come to pray with
us. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy
Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 21: On Unmanly and Puerile
Cowardice

The angel who is always near us is by nothing so distressed and made
indignant as when, without being constrained by some necessity, we
deprive ourselves of the ministration of the Holy Mysteries and of
reception of Holy Communion, which grants remission of sins. For at that
hour the priest offers up the sacrifice of the Body of Him Who gives us
life, and the Holy Spirit descends and consecrates the Body and Blood
and grants remission to creation. The Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the
angels stand with great awe, fear, and joy. They rejoice over the Holy
Mysteries while experiencing inexpressible astonishment. The angel who
is always by us is consoled, because he also partakes in that dread
spectacle and is not deprived of that perfect intercourse. St. Isaac the
Syrian

When you close the doors to your dwelling and are alone you should know
that there is present with you the angel whom God has appointed for each
man...This angel, who is sleepless and cannot be deceived, is always
present with you; he sees all things and is not hindered by darkness.
You should know, too, that with him is God, who is in every place; for
there is no place and nothing material in which God is not, since He is
greater than all things and holds all men in His hand. St. Antony the
Great (On the Character of Men no. 62)

See http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/guardian_angel.html





We should pray to our guardian angel daily. 

There is a prayer to the guardian angel in the morning prayers. Each
day, we should ask for his assistance. He has been sent by God to help
us. Off course, by ?pray¦, we mean merely that we should ask for help.
All help ultimately comes from God, but He enables men and angels to
help others according to His will.

The ?four bows¦ have a prayer to the guardian angel. 

I have recommended to almost all of my flock at one time or another to
begin their day with the ?four bows¦. A little article about this is at 
 HYPERLINK "http://www.orthodox.net/fourbows.html" 
http://www.orthodox.net/fourbows.html  Here is a part of that article: 

Upon arising in the morning, before anything else, direct your heart and
mind towards God, and face your icons, or face East and with
compunction, and without haste, make four bows, or better, four
prostrations. Do this with hope in God, and the sure belief that He will
receive your prayer, as He received the widow's two mites, and protect
you during the day, even if you fall into inattention and these prayers
are the last you will say for the entire day.

Making the sign of the cross, with a bow of prostration during each
prayer say:

1 Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.

2 Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

3 Holy Saint ______ (your patron saint), pray to God for me.

4 Holy Angel of God, my guardian, pray to God for me.

After these prayers, it is best to continue with your morning prayers,
and then turn your attentions to the cares of the day. Even if the
weakness of the flesh compels us to abandon our prayer and rush into our
day, perhaps not to return to our morning prayer, at least we have begun
the by giving our "first fruits" to God. Let us do these "few things",
four short prayers that take under a minute, so that in time, our heart
will become aflame with the love of God, and our Lord will say to us:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over
a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into
the joy of thy lord." (Mat 25:21) 





A great article about the ranks of the angels is in the Menologion
program. 

On the feast of the ?ASSEMBLY OF THE CHIEF OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS MICHAEL
AND THE OTHER HEAVENLY BODILESS POWERS¦ (Nov 8 on the church calendar
(this occurs Nov 21 on the calendar hanging in Joe-s garage (the ?civil¦
calendar)), there is a great description of this feast, with lots of
background information.

The ?Menologion¦ is a program which runs in Windows (sort of making the
unholy holy ( )  , which has daily readings, synaxarion (short lives of
saints/description of feast days), and troparia and kontakia. Get this
program! I use it every day to read the daily readings, and, as often as
I can, copy the text and comment on it (see   HYPERLINK
"http://www.orthodox.net/scripture"  http://www.orthodox.net/scripture )

GET IT HERE: http://saintjohnwonderworker.org/menologion.htm

Priest Seraphim Nov 8/21, 2008.

This document: http://www.orthodox.net/articles/angels.html
http://www.orthodox.net/articles/angels.doc,

http://www.orthodox.net/articles/angels.pdf

Use it for any edifying purpose, but please let us know, and give
attribution and the url to the document.