Tag Archives: St. Bonaventure

Today is our Guardian Angels’ feast day!

Today is the feast day of our Guardian Angels!

A 2007 Harris poll found that 74% of U.S. adults believed in angels.

How do we know that each of us has a guardian angel? Because Jesus tells us so!

“See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 18:10

The word “angel,” in Greek is angelos, in Hebrew is malach, in Arabic is mala’ika– which all mean “messenger.”

Angels are incorporeal (without body, material form or substance) spiritual beings who act as messengers and intermediaries between God and humanity. St. Augustine said that although Angels are defined by their function as messengers or message-bearers, their activities are not limited to just this function. Messenger is one of their functions, not their nature.

St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each Angel is unique, a species unto itself — truly a mind-boggling idea. (J.R.R. Tolkien probably had angels in mind when he fashioned the Ents, who are each a species unto itself.) That means each Angel is truly an individual, with his own personality and quirks. This may explain why some guardian angels are pro-active, while others are not.

Major philosophers — such as the great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), René Descartes (1596-1650), John Locke (1632-1704), and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler (1902-2001) — have put forth compelling reasoning for the existence of Angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, see “A philosopher-pagan comes home: The conversion of Mortimer Adler“.)

Theologians maintain there is a hierarchy of Angels, their belief stemming from allusions in both the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:1-7; Ezekiel 1, 10; Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12; Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15) to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”

Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Thomas Aquinas delineated three hierarchies of Angels, and three orders within each hierarchy, totaling nine orders in all:

  • 1st hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.
  • 2nd hierarchy: Dominions, Virtues, Powers.
  • 3rd hierarchy: Principalities, Archangels, Angels.

Of the nine angelic orders, five are sent by God for external ministry among bodily creatures, as indicated by their names of Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels—all of which refer to some kind of administrative or executive office. Of these five orders, only the last three minister to human beings:

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on Earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers to and guardians of individual human beings.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, a guardian angel is appointed by God’s loving providence to each human being from the moment of birth because “the dignity of human souls is great.”

Throughout the lives of “changeable and fallible” human beings, their guardian angels assist them toward goodness. Although the guardians never fail or forsake their human charges, they eschew interfering with Divine providence or with our free will to commit sin if we so choose and to suffer punishment.

When I see a drunk or derelict sleeping on a bus bench or curled up in a street corner, I can’t help but wonder how very sad their guardian angels must be. Imagine what it must be like to be the guardian angel of a serial killer . . . .

In Summa Theologica, St. Thomas also wrote that at the end of a human being’s earthly life, the guardian angel of the virtuous person will be replaced with an angelic companion because the guardian’s mission will have been successfully discharged. What a wondrous thought — that our guardian angel who has known and loved us all our lives will be our friend and companion through all eternity!

But the wicked in Hell “will have a fallen angel [or demon] to punish him” for eternity. Let that thought sink in . . . .

Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean our guardian angels aren’t with us all the time. In fact, there are many stories of angelic encounters and assistance. See, for example:

My days are so busy with blogging and family-, house- and garden-work that the only time when my mind is at rest is when I walk in the hills. On one such walk several years ago, I talked to my guardian angel and humbly asked him to show me he’s there. Instantaneously, I felt his presence walking alongside me, on my right. I can’t tell you what he looks like (he is a bodiless spirit after all), but what I felt was his staggeringly-profound LOVE — a love that is unconditional and wholly unearned, the depths of which I have never (and will never) experienced from any human.


Here’s a simple prayer to our guardian angels, by St. Bonaventure (1221-1274):

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His Love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.

Talk to your Guardian Angel!

He loves you very, very much, more than you’ll ever know.

Tell him you love him.

And thank your Guardian Angel today and every day — for watching over and protecting you, and for loving you in spite of ourselves.

~Eowyn

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Today is our Guardian Angels’ feast day!

Today is the feast day of our Guardian Angels!

A 2007 Harris poll found that 74% of U.S. adults believed in angels.
How do we know that each of us has a guardian angel? Because Jesus tells us so!

“See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 18:10

The word “angel,” in Greek is angelos, in Hebrew is malach, in Arabic is mala’ika– which all mean “messenger.”
Angels are incorporeal (without material bodies or subtance) spiritual beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. Although the word “angel” means “messenger,” this does not limit their activities. Instead, they are created by God to serve Him by fulfilling any and all tasks assigned to them.
St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each Angel is unique, a species unto itself — a truly mind-boggling idea. (Sidenote: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ents are analogous, in that each Ent is also a species unto itself.) That means each Angel is truly an individual, with his own personality and quirks. This may explain why some guardian angels are pro-active, while others are not.
Major philosophers — such as the great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), René Descartes (1596-1650), John Locke (1632-1704), and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler (1902-2001) — have put forth compelling reasoning for the existence of Angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, to the Catholic faith, see the moving account, “A Philosopher-Pagan Comes Home“.)
Scripture tells us there is a hierarchy of Angels — there are various gradations or “orders” of Angels. We know this because in Genesis 3:24, Isaiah 6:1-7, Ezekiel 1, 10, Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15, allusions are made to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers,” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”
According to Aquinas and Dionysius the Areopagite, there are nine orders of angels, but only the last five angelic orders (Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels) minister to bodily creatures and, of them, only the last three minister to human beings:

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity — of nations or countries.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers and guardians of individual human beings.

Note: By logical inference, then, the orders of Virtues and Powers minister to nonhuman bodily creatures, which would include animals whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin.” Isn’t that a happy thought? — that our pets also have angels?

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, a guardian angel is appointed by God’s loving providence to each human being from the moment of birth because “the dignity of human souls is great.”
Throughout the lives of “changeable and fallible” human beings, their guardian angels assist them toward goodness. Although the guardians never fail or forsake their human charges, they eschew interfering with Divine providence or with our free will—to commit sin if we so choose, to endure trials and troubles, and to suffer punishment.
When I see a drunk or derelict sleeping on a bus bench or curled up in a street corner, I can’t help but wonder how very sad their guardian angels must be. Imagine what it must be like to be the guardian angel of a serial killer . . . .
In Summa Theologica, St. Thomas also wrote that at the end of a human being’s earthly life, the guardian angel of the virtuous person will be replaced with an angelic companion because the guardian’s mission will have been successfully discharged. What a wondrous thought: That our Guardian Angel who has known and loved us all our lives will be our friend and companion through all eternity!
But the wicked in Hell “will have a fallen angel [or demon] to punish him” for eternity. Let that thought sink in . . . .
Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean our Guardian Angels aren’t with us all the time. In fact, there are many stories of angelic encounters and assistance. See, for example:

You’ll find more angel stories on FOTM‘s “Angels & Saints” page.
My days are so busy with blogging and family-, house- and garden-work that the only time when my mind is at rest is when I’m taking my solitary walk in the hills. On one such walk several years ago, I talked to my guardian angel and humbly asked him to show me he’s there. Instantaneously, I felt his presence walking alongside me, to my right. I can’t tell you what he looks like (he is a bodiless spirit after all), but what I felt was his staggeringly-profound LOVE — a love that is unconditional and wholly unearned, the depths of which I have never (and will never) experienced from a human.

Here’s a simple prayer to our guardian angels, by St. Bonaventure (1221-1274):

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His Love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.

Talk to your Guardian Angel!
He loves you very, very much, more than you’ll ever know.
Tell him you love him.
And thank your Guardian Angel today and every day — for watching over and protecting you, and for loving you in spite of ourselves.
~Eowyn

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Today is our Guardian Angels' feast day!

Guardian Angel

Today is the feast day of our Guardian Angels!

A 2007 Harris poll found that 74% of U.S. adults believed in angels.
The word “angel,” in Greek is angelos, in Hebrew is malach, in Arabic is mala’ika– which all mean “messenger.”
Angels are incorporeal (bodiless) spiritual beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. Although the word “angel” means “messenger,” this does not limit their activities. Instead, they are created by God to serve Him by fulfilling any and all tasks assigned to them.
St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each Angel is unique, a species unto itself — a truly mind-boggling idea. (Sidenote: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ents are analogous, in that each Ent is also a species unto itself.) That means each Angel is truly an individual, with his own personality and quirks. This may explain why some guardian angels are pro-active, while others are not.
Major philosophers — such as the great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), René Descartes (1596-1650), John Locke (1632-1704), and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler (1902-2001) — have put forth compelling reasoning for the existence of Angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, to the Catholic faith, see the moving account, “A Philosopher-Pagan Comes Home“.)
Scripture tells us there is a hierarchy of Angels — there are various gradations or “orders” of Angels. We know this because in Genesis 3:24, Isaiah 6:1-7, Ezekiel 1, 10, Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15, allusions are made to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers,” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”
According to Aquinas and Dionysius the Areopagite, there are nine orders of angels, but only the last five angelic orders (Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels) minister to bodily creatures and, of them, only the last three minister to human beings:

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity — of nations or countries.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers and guardians of individual human beings.

Sidenote: By logical inference, then, the orders of Virtues and Powers minister to nonhuman bodily creatures, which would include animals whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin.” Isn’t that a happy thought? — that our pets also have angels?

How do we know each of us has a guardian angel?
Because Jesus tells us so!

“See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 18:10

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, a guardian angel is appointed by God’s loving providence to each human being from the moment of birth because “the dignity of human souls is great.”
Throughout the lives of “changeable and fallible” human beings, their guardian angels assist them toward goodness. Although the guardians never fail or forsake their human charges, they eschew interfering with Divine providence or with our free will—to commit sin if we so choose, to endure trials and troubles, and to suffer punishment.
When I see a drunk or derelict sleeping on a bus bench or curled up in a street corner, I can’t help but wonder how very sad their guardian angels must be. Imagine what it must be like to be the guardian angel of a serial killer . . . .
In Summa Theologica, St. Thomas also wrote that at the end of a human being’s earthly life, the guardian angel of the virtuous person will be replaced with an angelic companion because the guardian’s mission will have been successfully discharged. What a wondrous thought: That our Guardian Angel who has known and loved us all our lives will be our friend and companion through all eternity!
But the wicked in Hell “will have a fallen angel [or demon] to punish him” for eternity. Let that thought sink in . . . .
Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean our Guardian Angels aren’t with us all the time. In fact, there are many stories of angelic encounters and assistance. See, for example:

You’ll find more angel stories on FOTM‘s “Angels & Saints” page.
My days are so busy with blogging and family-, house- and garden-work that the only time when my mind is at rest is when I’m taking my solitary walk in the hills. On one such walk several years ago, I talked to my guardian angel and humbly asked him to show me he’s there. Instantaneously, I felt his presence walking alongside me, to my right. I can’t tell you what he looks like (he is a bodiless spirit after all), but what I felt was his staggeringly-profound LOVE — a love that is unconditional and wholly unearned, the depths of which I have never (and will never) experienced from a human.

Here’s a simple prayer to our guardian angels, by St. Bonaventure (1221-1274):

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His Love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.

Talk to your Guardian Angel!
He loves you very, very much, more than you’ll ever know.
Tell him you love him.
And thank your Guardian Angel today and every day — for watching over and protecting you, and for loving you in spite of ourselves.
~Eowyn

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Being kind to animals

Serial killers are psychopaths, without remorse or empathy. Before they “graduate” to killing humans, in their childhood or teens, serial killers are known to torture and kill small and, therefore, defenseless animals.
So, if you’re kind to animals, that means you have empathy. It is what makes you fully human.
Here are some examples of human kindness toward animals, whom St. Bonaventure correctly and aptly called “creatures without sin” for it is only we humans who are born as fommes peccati — tinder for sin.

  1. What two young men did to rescue a kitten:
    humans & animals1
  2. Two boys save a dog:
    humans & animals2

  3. A firefighter resuscitates a kitten:
    fireman resuscitates kitten

  4. Another fireman resuscitates a mama cat:
    humans & animals4

  5. This man built a ramp to his car for his dog who’s old with arthritis:
    humans & animals3

  6. Officers salute a heroic police dog:
    humans & animals5

  7. This man found a fox lying on the street, severely injured by dogs. With patience and love, the man nursed the fox back to life and named it Cropper. Cropper refused to go back to the wild and chose to stay with the man. The two have lived together for over six years:
    humans & animals6

  8. Dogs and cats are treated horribly in China, but not all Chinese are cruel. These dogs were in a truck, bound for slaughter, if it were not for an animal rescue center that stepped in and paid about $8,000 for the dogs:
    humans & animals7

  9. In Thailand, an elephant lost his foot and parts of its nose in a landmine. After a few months of recovery, he is fitted with a prosthetic leg:
    humans & animals8

  10. A girl saves a puppy from drowning:
    humans & animals9

  11. A Marine found 4 very small baby rabbits alone beside their lifeless mother in the woods. So he took the bunnies home, fed them until they were big and strong enough to be released back into the wild:
    humans & animals10

  12. A fire fighter gives water to a severely-dehydrated koala bear who survived a forest fire in Australia:
    humans & animals11

  13. Chris P. Bacon the piglet was born without his hind legs. So his owners made a wheelchair for him from K’Nex pieces:
    humans & animals12 Source: AnimalMozo

More “Being kind to animals” tomorrow!
H/t FOTM’s josephbc69
~Eowyn
 

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Woman saved from burning car by an angel

In our dark times, more than ever we hunger for signs of God’s grace.
This is a first-person account of that grace, by Dann and Tracey Staddler who were in a horrific car accident, when an Angel saved Tracey from their burning car.
AngelWings
As recounted by CBN, on the night of their 4th wedding anniversary, the Stadlers’ car was hit head on by a drunk driver going the wrong way down the interstate. The drunk driver immediately was killed; Dann and Tracey were badly injured and trapped inside their crushed and burning car.
Dann recalls, “The whole entire car was filled with smoke. I could smell the burning leather. I could smell the burning flesh. I knew that I was going to start on fire very soon because I couldn’t breathe. I could feel my lungs burning. There was so much wreckage pushed in on us that we just couldn’t move. Tracey was literally trapped by the engine and everything else had collapsed in on her.
Tracey and Dann Staddler
Tracey says, “I looked at my husband and he reached over to try to unbuckle my seatbelt, and then whoosh, he started on fire. I tried getting to him but I couldn’t move. I was trapped.”
Motorists arrived on the scene and quickly began rescue efforts to get them out of their burning car.
Dann says, “They stopped their car and ran up to our car which was now engulfed in smoke and flames. They began praying as soon as they came upon the wreckage and they moved into action almost as quickly. They were doing everything they could spiritually to help rescue us; however God’s will was going to play out; they were there involved in it.”
Tracey says, “I remember leaning up and looking at all these people lined up and they were hysterical. And I remember even locking eyes with a woman.”
But the car doors were jammed shut. One man pulled on the driver’s side door frame until the glass finally broke out.
Dann says, “The window then shattered into a thousand pieces and kind of fell away. I was literally on fire at that point, my face, my head, my right side, my right arm, my right leg, they were all burning. And so I pulled myself out and they came over and grabbed me and took me over on the median in the grass and rolled me out and put the fire out that way. In the meantime Tracey was trapped in the car. She could feel her face burning and at that point she was convinced she was going to die.
Tracey says:

“I realized, ‘This is it. I’m leaving.’ And so I prayed. I said prayers I never even knew were in my mind. I said, ‘Father I pray that You forgive me for my sins. You said You have many mansions in Heaven and I pray there’s one for me.’ And I said, ‘Please don’t let me burn to death.’ And then I looked up and there he was.
When I say ‘He’ it was a person who I knew wasn’t of this world. It was a Heaven sent person in an angelic form. And at that point he just lifted me up and I went with him. He pulled me out and we started getting further away from the accident site. At that point I know I left my body. I know I did. He told me I could look back if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to. And the further we got away from the accident site the more peace I felt – such peace. And the love? The love can’t be explained; we’re too finite in our words. It can’t be explained in human terms. The love, like you are going home. There was no pain, no regret, only anticipation. The only thing that mattered was my relationship with Christ. And I felt like I was in the arms of God, of Jesus Christ himself.”

Tracey says as they ascended into heaven she saw her grandmother who died when Tracey was a little girl. “And I was so thrilled to see her and she was thrilled to see me. She knew me and I knew her right away. I started to go toward her and I stopped and I said, ‘Megan!’ That’s our oldest daughter who was nine months old at the time. And I said, ‘I have to go back.’ I mean I knew I was going to see the face of God. I knew it. But I couldn’t let Megan grow up alone. And we started going down, and this was just the opposite of going up. It was hard. It was cold. It was fast, and it was painful coming back.”
Tracey says her spirit returned to her broken and burned body. At the same time rescuers saw a man walk out of the woods and up to the car.
Dann remembers:
“And they saw him come closer and closer to the car and he appeared to have a glow about him. And, at the same time there was another man who was behind all of this going on. He was praying fervently for our rescue and our recovery. And, he said just as the angel came upon the scene, he was buckled to his knees because he felt the healing power of Jesus Christ so intensely that it just overpowered and overwhelmed him. One of the rescuers was able to free Tracey, and that’s when he said she was just as light as a feather. She just essentially popped out right in his hands. As the angel was there he bent over her, and he put his hands over her face.
Tracey says, “He took his hands and I knew he was healing me. And he said, ‘Tracey, everything’s going to be alright.’ He healed me.”
Dann Says, “He turned and looked and locked eyes with one man in particular and very slowly and deliberately he said, ‘Take care of Tracey.’ Nobody knew our names at that point. Tracey’s purse was in the car burned up. She was pulled unconscious from the car. I had not been speaking her name, Tracey had not spoken her name, so for him to know her name, he could only have been heaven sent.”
The man turned and walked back into the woods. Soon after, emergency workers arrived on the scene and transported Dann and Tracey to nearby hospitals. The next several months were filled with pain and difficulties as they recovered from multiple fractures and Dann’s severely burned body, but Tracey says the presence and peace of God was with her when she prayed.
She says, “That sustained me. I could feel peace from my head to my toe when I prayed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It worked better than any pharmaceutical out there. It really did. And the peace again, I prayed to be filled with peace.”

Tracey Wills & Dann Staddler at a reunion of the Washington High School Class of 1980 Germantown

Tracey Wills & Dann Staddler at a reunion of the Washington High School Class of 1980 Germantown


In their book Angels in the Fire, Dann and Tracey recount how God has used the crash to show His Presence in their lives. They say they are thankful they’ve been given a second chance in life, even in difficult times.
Dann says, “God was there for us. Jesus Christ was there for us. He gave us – He gave Tracey in particular, a healing. He’s used what happened to us for many other things. We do have a lot of joy in our lives; not always happiness, not always thrilled with some of the challenges we’ve faced, but the joy of Christ is always with us.”
Tracey says, “Tracey says, “I just recognize that fact that God is with me every day through everything; in the littlest decisions, He’s there. I don’t know why I was saved, but He for some reason thought I was worth saving. I’m very thankful for that. I really am.”
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoWd1ZBL5n0]
Here’s a simple prayer to our Guardian Angels, by St. Bonaventure (1221-1274):

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His Love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. Amen.

Talk to your Guardian Angel!
He loves you very very very much, more than you’ll ever know.
And thank your Guardian Angel today and every day — for watching over and protecting you, and for loving you in spite of ourselves.
See also these other angelic encounters:

~Eowyn

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A Day of Archangels

Today is the Feast Day of the Archangels!

September 29 traditionally was set aside as the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel. (The word “saint” simply means “holy.”) Then the Church made it the feast day of all the Archangels.
Three Angels are named in the Bible:

  1. Michael
  2. Gabriel: in Hebrew, the name means “God is my might”
  3. Raphael: in Hebrew, the name means “God has healed”

Notice that all three names end with “El” — which means God, in Hebrew. Thus, each Archangel’s name ending in “el” means they are “of God.”

Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary
The Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli, 1485

The word “angel,” in Greek is angelos; in Hebrew is malach; in Arabic is mala’ika — which all mean “messenger.”
Angels are incorporeal (bodiless) spiritual beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. Angels are defined by their function as messengers or message-bearers, although this function does not exhaust their activities because they were created by God to serve the supreme deity by fulfilling any and all tasks assigned to them.
In other words, being an angel or messenger simply denotes one of their functions, not their nature. St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each angel is unique, a species unto itself — truly a mind-boggling idea.
Major philosophers — such as Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes, John Locke, and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler — have put forth compelling reasons for the existence of Angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, to the Catholic faith, see the moving account, “A Philosopher-Pagan Comes Home.)
Theologians maintain there is a hierarchy of Angels, due to the fact that in Genesis 3:24, Isaiah 6:1-7, Ezekiel 1, 10, Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15, allusions are made to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers,” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”
Dionysius and St. Thomas Aquinas delineated three hierarchies of Angels, with each hierarchy comprised of three orders:

  • 1st hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.
  • 2nd hierarchy: Dominions, Virtues, Powers.
  • 3rd hierarchy: Principalities, Archangels, Angels.

Of the nine angelic orders, five are sent by God for external ministry among bodily creatures, as indicated by their names of Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels—all of which refer to some kind of administrative or executive office. Of these five orders, only the last three minister to human beings, which suggests Virtues and Powers minister to other bodily creatures — likely including all the non-human animals whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin”!

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on Earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers to and guardians of individual human beings.

The name “Lucifer” means “Morning Star,” “Son of the Dawn,” or “Light Carrier.” For that reason, theologians believe that Lucifer was a high-order Angel, most likely the highest order — a Seraphim. Aquinas thought him to be “probably the highest of all the angels.” But Lucifer admires and loves himself more than his Creator and thinks himself to be “as God.” And so, swollen with narcissism and grandiosity, Lucifer rebelled, taking a third of the angelic beings with him.
StMichaelTheArchangelBut, a lower-order Angel, full of courage and love of God, rallied together two-thirds of the angelic ranks against the apostates, in the First War that began the enduring conflict between good and evil:

Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. (Revelation 12:7-9)

That braveheart’s name is Micha-el, which means “Who is like God?”
I like to think “Who is like God?” is Micha-el‘s battle cry . . . .
St. Michael the Archangel is believed to be the captain or prince of the heavenly armies and the most beloved of all the Angels. He is mentioned in Daniel 10:13,31; 12:1 (where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel); in Jude 9 (where he is said to have disputed with the devil about the body of Moses); and in Revelation 12:7 (where he is said to have led the heavenly armies against those of the great dragon).
Described in Revelation 10:1 as a “mighty angel…with a halo around his head; his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire,” St. Michael is generally portrayed by artists as wearing full armor and carrying a sword or lance, with his foot on the neck of a dragon. (Pictures of the martyred St. George are often similar, but only Micha-el has wings.)
michaelfrMichael has four main titles or offices. He is:

  • Patron of the Chosen People in the Old Testament.
  • Patron saint and defender of the Church.
  • The Angel of death, who assists Jesus in the final judgment (thus, Michael is sometimes depicted with a scale).
  • Leading the good angels against the fallen angels or demons. For that reason, Christians consider St. Michael the most powerful defender of God’s people against evil. As such, Michael is also the patron saint of soldiers and policemen. (For the Prayer to St. Michael, go here.)

All of which is why St. Michael the Archangel — the Braveheart of Angels — is my most favorite saint, whom I admire and love with all my heart. He is my captain. As you can see from this blog’s masthead, he is also the protector of Fellowship of the Minds.

Happy Feast Day, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael!

Thank you for inspiring us with your humility, courage, goodness, and love for God.
Thank you, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for creating the marvelous Angels!
~Eowyn
For a fascinating account of one man’s experience with the Archangel Michael, click here. Check out FOTM’s other saints and angels posts, here!
Sources:

  1. Mortimer J. Adler, The Angels and Us (New York: Macmillan, 1982).
  2. Matthew Bunson, Angels A to Z: A Who’s Who of the Heavenly Host (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996), pp. 181-184.
  3. Michael H. Brown, Prayer of the Warrior (Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1993), p. 34.
  4. René Descartes, Meditations On First Philosophy, trans. by Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1979).
  5. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, edited with an introduction by A. D. Woozley (Cleveland & New York: Meridian Books, 1968),
  6. Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume One(New York: Benziger Brothers, 1947).
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Dog found help for friend stuck for a week in a ravine

Here’s your feel-good story of the day: a reminder that there is still good in the world.
Phoebe, a basset hound, fell into a concrete cistern in a ravine in the woods of Washington state, and couldn’t get out.
Phoebe
So Phoebe’s friend, Tillie the Irish Setter, went to find help, each day for a week.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit animal rescue organization Vashon Island Pet Protectors (VIPP) had posted photos of the two missing dogs on their Facebook page, hoping someone would spot them.
On September 14, 2015, VIPP received a call from Joe Curiel about a “reddish” dog coming up to them on their property, before promptly heading back into a ravine.
Acting on the tip, VIPP volunteers made their way into the ravine, calling “Tillie! Tillie!” After a bit of searching, the volunteers heard a small one-woof response. A few minutes later, they found Tillie lying beside the old cistern with her head resting on the concrete wall.
Tillie & Phoebe
Here’s VIPP’s account, posted on their Facebook page:
VIPP Facebook
Both dogs were cold and hungry, but are doing well.
H/t KING-TV
And that’s why St. Bonaventure called animals “creatures without sin”!
~Éowyn

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Dog taken by car thief finds her way back home

It is cold in Boise, Idaho, in January.
On the morning of January 14, 2015, at around 6:45 a.m., a 71-year-old man started up his 2008 Cadillac CTS sedan in front of his house near the intersection of North Allumbaugh Street and West Morris Hill Lane.
The man then went back into the house to allow the car to warm up. Two minutes later, he heard his car speeding away, with his beloved pet inside — a 3-year-old female miniature pinscher named Minnie.
Minnie the dog
At 3 p.m. that afternoon, the man’s Cadillac was found abandoned nearly 5 miles away on the 1400 block of South Colorado Avenue just east of Broadway and Highland, but Minnie was not inside.
Boise1
Minnie wasn’t wearing a collar but was wearing a red and brown checkered vest. She weighs about 3 pounds and has a two-tone brown coat.
Her owner said, “She’s quite smart and she is very well behaved. I would rather have her than the car, I’ll tell you that. It would mean everything to me to get her back.”
The news of Minnie was published on the Idaho Statesman that day.
Happily, a day later, Minnie was reunited with her owner when she showed up at a house near Gowen and Victory. (Source: Idaho Statesman)
What’s the significance of that house near Gowen and Victory?
It’s the man’s (and Minnie’s) former home.
The little 3-lb. dog somehow managed to find her way from the 1400 block of South Colorado Ave. where the thief had abandoned the Cadillac, to her former home at Gowen and Victory — a journey of many miles on little feet.
I plotted the locations on Google Map so that we have some idea of the journey undertaken by that little braveheart of a dog:
Boise3
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that ​there are nine orders of angels, but only the last five angelic orders (Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels) minister to bodily creatures and, of them, only the last three minister to human beings. That, of course, suggests two angelic orders — those of Virtues and Powers — minister to nonhuman bodily creatures, including animals whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin.”
Minnie’s guardian angel must have been working over time!
miniature pinscher
~Eowyn

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Animal altruism: Turtle lends a helping hand to another

We humans like to think we are the only creatures on Earth with complex emotions, and that non-human creatures have neither feelings nor moral sentiments.

But science more and more is discovering that animals not only love and mourn (elephants would return to elephant graveyards to caress the bones of dead family members), have a sense of right and wrong, of justice and fairness (see “Animals can tell right from wrong“), they are also capable of acts of altruism — selfless acts to advance the wellbeing of another.

Even turtles are altruistic, as demonstrated by this turtle in Taiwan’s Taipei Zoo who helped to “right” another turtle that (some human?) had flipped onto its back.

Not only are animals capable of selfless acts of altruism, I know of no animal that commits gratuitous acts of brutality like what humans do. When animals commit acts of violence, they do it for a purpose — for food or territory or a mate. Only human psychopaths assault and kill for no good reason.

St. Bonaventure called animals “creatures without sin.” And indeed, non-human animals did not commit the primal sin of pride and disobedience against the Creator in that first garden.

~Eowyn

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It's not just humans who feel love

There is a trope among ethologists (animal behaviorists) that animals or non-human creatures (as if human beings are not part of the “animal” kingdom!) operate simply by instinct and so, they do not have “higher-level” emotions such as love and loss, or abstract moral principles such as justice. Much of those convictions stems from our inability to communicate with them, not being conversant in their languages.
Increasingly, however, studies are showing those notions to be wrong.
Elephants return to the “graveyards” — places in which their family members had died — and use their tusks to caress the bones of their lost ones. How is that behavior not a sign of mourning and grief?
Chimps show they have a sense of justice — about fairness. They are disgruntled when another chimp receives preferential treatment — getting a better reward for performing the same job.
And as for love, defined as ” an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment,” non-human creatures show in their behavior every indication that they do love. Not only that, their love spans some of the range we accord to humans — from the sexual love of eros, to the familial love between parent and child and among siblings, to the platonic love between even inter-species friends. As you can see in these lovely pictures:

Familial love

love5love6love7love12love9love11

Friendship

love13love14love16love1love3love8love10love15
There is one profound difference between humans and other animals.
As St. Bonaventure once observed: Non-human animals are creatures without sin.
H/t FOTM’s Ken L.
~Eowyn

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