Hierarchic Veneration

The archangels preside over all the angels which interact with us here on earth. Each of us has a kind guardian angel to guide and help us to do good. Our guardian angels look to the Archangels as their models and guides. The Archangels did the great work of guiding the heroes of the history of salvation, which we read about in the Bible.

But the Archangels would not want us to forget that they themselves stand below countless hosts of higher angels. These celestial choirs sing the praises of God perpetually in heaven.

So we venerate the angels and archangels; the angels and archangels venerate the cherubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, virtues, principalities, and powers.

Today we keep a special feast for the Archangels. But, of course, as we discussed a little bit on Sunday: every Mass makes a feast for us in communion with the angels. The angels celebrate the perfect liturgy of heaven, and we praise and worship God fittingly to the extent that we participate in what they always do.

N.B. We can look forward to more extensive references to the multiple orders of angels in the revised translation of the Missal. The translation we have been using often elides references to the various orders.

One thought on “Hierarchic Veneration

  1. Father Mark,

    Nothing quite like Mass on the Archangels’ Feast at 6:30 AM @ St. Raphael’s. There you have them, the images of Michael, Gabriel & Raphael. Unfortunately, you can’t see them if you’re celebrating or serving, except at the opening and closing venerations.

    But, there are other images in my mind as well, Michael, as depicted by John Trevolta in the motion picture of the same name, comes to mind. So too, does the Seraphim (admittedly, not an archangel) in one of the X-file episodes.

    The reason I mention these other images is the concept of the tremendous (God-given) power of these angels, especially in comparison to their relatively minor role in Biblical history (and I say this knowing that withstanding the blast of a fiery furnace whilest protecting three men is no mean feat, and that there are others, as well).

    But, ain’t that just like God, unimaginable power withheld, when by rights it should be crushing us like gnats, exercised through the least likely vessels when the strong are quaking in their tents, powerful agents relegated to roles as visitor, messenger, and balm-applier, when they could be throwing Old Took back into Hell.

    Another interesting aspect of the three is their “last name”, “el”. God shares this name in the Bible:

    •El Shaddai:“God Almighty”
    •El Elyon: “The Most High God”
    •El Olam: “The Everlasting God”,

    but with it as the first name; what then are Micha (who is like God), Gabri (who is like God) & Rapha (God has healed).

    So many images, so little time; day breaks and life goes on.



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