The Admirable Perfections of these Sublime Intelligences.

The Admirable Perfections of these Sublime Intelligences.


My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

The Admirable Perfections of these Sublime Intelligences.

THE excellences of the angels are like a fathomless and, as it were, shoreless ocean. It is, as I have said, an abyss in which the mind necessarily loses itself. Souls duly enlightened know well that what they say is far below what they think of them, and that what they think is far below the reality; for true indeed it is that their greatness is as far beyond the thought of man to conceive as it is beyond his words to express. The angelic nature is a whole world of perfections in itself; and when to this is superadded the state of grace and glory, it is beyond measure admirable. It is a certain truth that the nature of men, however great its perfection, is inferior to that of angels, for this we learn from Holy Scripture; but a theologian of weight[1] has taught, what, however, is not the received opinion, that the lowest of the angels in the state of glory is above the highest of the saints; and it is in this sense that he explains those words of Holy Writ (Matt. xi. 11), which say that he who is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist. But besides the incomparable Mother of God, who without doubt is exalted above all the choirs of angels, he excepted the glorious St Joseph, on account of his belonging to an order differing from that of all other saints, because of the extraordinary office which he filled in connexion with the hypostatic union, being honoured with the title of husband of the Mother of God, reputed father of the God-Man, and, in a manner, saviour of the Saviour.

This, at least, we know, that the angels are spiritual substances, incorruptible by nature, perfectly separate from matter, and entirely free from all those infirmities which compass us on every side. They are spirits all brightness; they are acquainted with all the secrets of nature; and all that has remained most hidden from the greatest minds that have ever existed is intimately known to them. They know things without labour, and countless things at the same time, and in an instant of time, unaccompanied with doubt or obscurity. They do not make use of discourse like men, nor comprehend the things they know after our manner—that is, by reasoning from one thing to another; they understand everything at a glance, and this is why they are styled emphatically Intelligences. Scripture describes them as habited in a garment of brightness and of fire,[2] to indicate to us the spiritual light with which they are endowed; it clothes them, in the Apocalypse (i. 13-16), with a robe like to that of the high priests of old, to show us that the most sacred mysteries of religion are revealed to them. In fine, it represents them as enveloped with clouds,[3] to teach us that their brilliancy is too intense for our minds to endure—we can behold it only under a veil—the eye of man has not strength to gaze upon it. The wisest men upon earth are but children in comparison with these pure intelligences.

Their power also is inconceivable. One single angel could defeat millions of men set in battle array, yea, all the men in the world united together; he could work marvellous changes in the elements, in cities, provinces, and kingdoms. The angels can make the winds to blow, rain to fall, thunder to roar; they can raise tempests, cause earthquakes, stop the course of rivers, bestow abundance, or produce a famine, cure all maladies, or inflict incurable disorders, fashion themselves bodies, and perform a thousand other wonders, the causes of which men know not; and all this they can effect almost in a moment of time. They are represented with wings,[4] to denote their swiftness, which exceeds that of the heavens and of the winds; in an instant they pass from one end of the world to another, thus making themselves ubiquitous, as Tertullian says.

But their loveliness is perfectly enchanting; that which is fairest upon earth being mere deformity compared with their celestial beauty. The angels are all beauty; the least beautiful among them surpassing in loveliness all the united charms of earth. The mind is utterly lost in the thought of the infinite assemblage of beauty composing these angelic choirs; for if the angels differ from one another in kind, and consequently each has his own peculiar beauty, and if the lowest possesses more than all earthly creatures, and if, on the other hand, their number is, in a manner, infinite, a multitude which no man can number, and which is known only to God—O my God, what countless beauties does the Heavenly Sion contain! But O how dazzling must be the splendour of the most exalted spirits of this glorious city! And here St Anselm’s words are often quoted, who, to give us some idea of these truths by means of sensible objects, says, that were God to put an angel in the place of the sun, and surround him with as many suns as there are stars, and were He to permit this blessed spirit to transfuse into the form he has assumed some rays of his own brightness, he would eclipse all the splendour of these suns, and render them invisible to our eyes. A learned man has opined that the sun itself, which enlightens this world, has no other light but that which it receives from the angel who moves and guides it ; for, says he, though the angel does not inform this luminary, and acts towards it only as an assistant form, it is very possible that he imparts to it all its brilliancy, even as the blood in the human frame, in the opinion of those who do not believe it to be animated, nevertheless receives from the soul a certain lustre, which it loses when the soul is separated from the body.

In a word, everything about these amiable spirits is enrapturing. An angel appeared to St Francis, and for his entertainment played upon a musical instrument. He touched it but once, yet so melodiously, that the saint afterwards declared, that had he continued he must have died of such an excess of sweetness. That miraculous bird, whose song once so enchanted a religious who served God in the retirement of a desert, that he passed several centuries in that solitude without weariness, and with so much pleasure that he imagined he had spent only a quarter of an hour, God preserving him miraculously all this time, was no doubt an angel who took the form of a bird. Father Cornelius à Lapide asserts that, being desirous to examine into the truth of this miracle, he made a journey on purpose to the spot where it was said to have occurred, and to the monastery to which the afore-named religious belonged, and that, after having made a most careful examination  into the matter, he had found very satisfactory evidence of its truth.

This is also one reason why the angels were created in the empyreal heaven; it was most fitting that such noble and perfect creatures should take their origin in a heaven which is the abode of all enjoyment and blessedness. All those precious stones which were shown of old to the Prophet Ezekiel (i. 26, 27), typified to us the various perfections of the angels. The holy Fathers outdo themselves when it is question of bestowing titles and praises on them. To express all in one word, they may be called pure and lustrous mirrors reflecting God: they are at once His brilliant mirrors and His most lively images; their excellence is indeed without shade of imperfection. Alas! it is not thus with the little perfection which is to be seen here below on earth, and which is to be found only with a wretched alloy of faults and weaknesses. The nobility of the angels is unsullied by meanness, their knowledge is without ignorance, their light without darkness, their power without weakness, their beauty without the least blemish, their love without taint, their will without inconstancy, their peace without disturbance, their activity without intermission, their operation incessant and without toil, their designs without anxiety, their happiness without fear, their blessedness consummate in every respect without the least admixture of evil.

It is related in the Book of Judges (xiii. 18), that Manue having asked an angel who appeared to him what was his name, he replied that his name was “Wonderful” In the 16th chapter of Genesis, Agar, as Scripture tells us (ver. 13), called the name of the Lord who spake to her, “Thou the God who hast seen me.” Now it was an angel who at that time spake to her, but this title is ascribed to angels, because they represent God so admirably. Hence in the same book of Genesis, chapter 31st, Jacob says (ver. 30) that he has seen God face to face, when speaking of the angel who had appeared to him. With all these perfections, can men refuse the angels the love which is due to them—men who are so disposed to love what is beautiful and noble and perfect! This truth well deserves to be pondered long and deeply, to the glory of God, the Author of all these excellences and all these perfections.

[1] St. Ambrose.

[2] E.g., Ezek. i. 13, 14; Matt. xxviii. 3.

[3] E.g., Ezek. i. 4.

[4] E.g,, Isa. vi. 2; Ezek. i. 8, &c.

Nihil Obstat:
Henricus S. Bowden.
Censor deputatus.
Edm. Can. Surmont,
Vic. Gen.
Die 9, Martii, 1911.


My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.


October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer


Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.


Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer


Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

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.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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