The Holy Angels Do All that Is Possible to Be Done for the Good of Men.

The Holy Angels Do All that Is Possible to Be Done for the Good of Men.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

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 Holy Angels Do All that Is Possible to Be Done for the Good of Men.

THE angel who performed the office of a servant to that young man who is mentioned in the history of the Order of St. Dominic, offers us a striking example of this truth. A pious lady was apprised late one evening that a poor woman who lived in one of the suburbs of the town where she was then residing, was in extreme want. All her servants being out, she sent her son, who was very young. But as the child was frightened at having to go in the dark to a quarter which was at some distance from his home, a page, who was passing before the door with a torch, conducted him to the woman’s abode; and again, when he had to return, a man presented himself and escorted him back to his mother’s house, who doubted not but that it must have been his good angel who had rendered him this charitable service. Truly it is much for angels to watch over men so lovingly, but to take their form and to appear visibly, as they have so often done, this is something greater still. And that learned commentator on Holy Scripture, Cornelius à Lapide, is of opinion, that after the resurrection they will at times assume forms of incredible beauty to gratify our external senses. But that which is still more wonderful, is to see them put themselves in every conceivable situation in order to serve us. They take the appearance of poor men, of beggars, of the sick, of lepers. There is nothing which they will not do for men, who scarcely do anything in acknowledgment of the benefits they receive from them.

Even were it only on certain occasions that they rendered this assistance to such vile and miserable creatures, it would be wonderful: but to confer benefits upon us as numerous as the very moments of our life, and after such a manner, this is indeed past all conception. We have said again and again that the angels are our guardians; you also who read this have often said it; but have we ever seriously reflected on a favour so astonishing and so precious? If a prince of the blood royal were to repair to a wretched village, to pass some time in the service of a poor peasant, in a wretched hovel, would it not excite the wonder of the whole world? And if this peasant were his enemy, who constantly ill-treated him, and from whom the prince could expect nothing to his own advantage, doubtless this would much increase the general astonishment. And yet further, if this prince were not only to pass some months or even years with this wretched man, but were to remain with him to the latest moment of his life never losing sight of him, but always accompanying him, a man who was not only ungrateful to him, not only bad, but quite brutalised, covered with loathsome diseases, disgusting ulcers, vermin, itch, and everything that is most revolting, what would men think of this?

And yet, my soul, it is thus that thy good angel guards thee: it is thus, O thou to whom I speak through these pages, that thy holy angel guards thee, and affords thee his constant protection. Yes, this amiable prince of Paradise never leaves us in this valley of misery and tears. The angels, says St Augustine, go in and out with us, having their eyes always fixed upon us and upon all that we are doing. If we stop anywhere, they stop also; if we go forth to walk, they bear us company; if we journey into another country, they follow us; go where we will, by land or by sea, they are ever with us. Let the solitary shut himself up in his hermitage, his good angel abides there with him; let the traveller pass continually from one country to another, his good angel follows him everywhere. Oh, exceeding goodness! While we sleep, they keep watch by us; they are always beside us,—us, who are sinners, and consequently their enemies; who are hideousness itself by reason of sin, and who could not even endure ourselves if we knew our own deformity, and were sensible of our loathsomeness—us, who are ingratitude itself; the greater part of whose lives is made up of criminal actions, either mortal or venial, or of mean and unworthy occupations, which assuredly are most pitiable in the eyes of those enlightened spirits, who plainly perceive their folly and vanity,—us, who mix a multitude of faults with the good actions we perform: and notwithstanding all this, they never tire of being with us all day long and all night long, and during every moment of our life. And if we are so happy as to be saved, after our death they will visit us in the prison of Purgatory, and will not think they degrade themselves by coming to console us amidst the furnace; and flames of that place of suffering. Truly, is not this to act as our servants and slaves, and not merely as our guardians? But, more than this: would it be possible! do not say to meet with princes who should be willing thus to serve such miserable creatures—but could any persons be found, however wretched they might be, who would consent to serve kings on these conditions, and sacrifice their liberty to such a degree? Begin, then, to-day, truly to learn, and fix it well in your memory, that the angels are our servants and our slaves. Oh, the goodness of God! Princes of Paradise, kings of glory, to be our attendants and our slaves! That holy man, Vincent Caraffa, had indeed reason to say that the life of the Christian was something truly wondrous and admirable.

Add to this surprising love, that the angels are not satisfied with thus guarding men; their love is carried to such an excess, that, for the love of men, they tend even beasts; not only in that sometimes, disguised as shepherds, they have watched over the flocks of certain chosen souls, as we read of St Felix,[1] who was afterwards a Capuchin, but that, according to St Augustine, the visible world is governed by invisible creatures, pure spirits; and that there are even angels who preside over every visible thing, and all the different species of creatures in the world, whether animate or inanimate. The heavens and the stars have their directing angels; the waters have their own special angel, as is stated in the Apocalypse (xvi. 5); the air has its angels which govern the winds, as we may read in the same book (vii. 1), which, moreover, informs us (xiv. 18) that the element of fire also has its angels. The kingdoms have their angels, as Daniel says (x 13, 20); provinces also have their guardian angels, as we learn from Genesis (xxxii 1): for the angels who appeared to Jacob were the guardians of the provinces through which he was passing. Jacob, says St. Augustine, saw two troops of angels; one was commanded by the Angel of Mesopotamia, who had conducted that holy patriarch with his band to the confines of Canaan; there that holy man was received by the Angel of Canaan, accompanied by a multitude of inferior angels, to serve him as an escort and defend him from his enemies. Every country, in the opinion of St Clement, has an angel to guard it, and so have towns and villages, and even private families, in the judgment of the learned Tostado: how much more churches and altars, as it has pleased our Lord to reveal to several of His Saints.

Thus the whole world is full of angels; and this seems conformable to the sweetness with which Divine Providence orders things; for if it be true, as some aver, that there are in the air so great a number of devils that, if these spirits had bodies, they would cause the darkness of night at mid-day, hiding from us the sight of the sun, how should men, who are sheer weakness, be able to resist such might, if they were not succoured by the protection of the good angels? Now, all these good angels are not stationed throughout this universe for no active purpose. As each star has its own peculiar influence, so likewise all these blessed spirits produce effects beneficial to men, after a manner proper to each; and if we did but know all the favours which we continually receive from them, we must have hearts harder than stone not to be sensibly affected by it. But, alas! man is wholly given up to the flesh, and thinks of scarcely anything else but the objects with which his senses are conversant. It is vain to talk to him of spiritual things; either he comprehends them not, or he easily forgets them. Notwithstanding all that the Prophet Eliseus might say to his servant of the protection of these glorious spirits, the poor man did not feel any the more convinced of it, until God opened his eyes miraculously, and showed them to him under sensible forms. Oh, if the All-Good God were to grant to us the same favour, what wonders should we discover! However, let us well and deeply consider that all the comfort and benefit we derive from earth, air, water, fire, from the heavens, from animals—in fine, from all creatures, come to us by the agency of the holy angels, who are the faithful ministers of that only God whom we adore, who is admirable in all His gifts, and who merits for them our unceasing praises for ever and ever.

[1] St Felix of Cantalicio. A.D. 1587.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

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.

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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
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

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
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

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,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

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,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

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
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
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.
Amen.

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:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
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.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

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:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
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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