Practice: to have a Particular Devotion to the Angels, Archangels, and Principalities.

Practice: to have a Particular Devotion to the Angels, Archangels, and Principalities.


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.

Practice: to have a Particular Devotion to the Angels, Archangels, and Principalities.

THE three orders of the third and last hierarchy of angels are composed of the Angels, the Archangels, and the Principalities, or, according to some, the Virtues. This last hierarchy is specially engaged in the care of men, of kingdoms and provinces, and of other things, which peculiarly regard the good of men. Our Guardian Angels are generally taken from the third order of this hierarchy; the Archangels watch over empires and provinces; and the Principalities communicate to the Angels and Archangels the orders of Divine Providence which they receive from the second hierarchy. They are called Principalities, according to St. Gregory, because they are the princes of the heavenly spirits of the two inferior orders of their hierarchy. The Angels manifest the Divine will in ordinary matters; the Archangels make it known in such as are of greater moment; and both are informed and enlightened therein by the Principalities, who represent in a special manner the empire and sovereignty of God. Now the loving charity of the blessed spirits of this hierarchy towards men is so exceedingly great and so admirable, that we shall never be able to make any adequate return either of gratitude or of homage; but at least let us love them as much as is in our power. I well know that this love will never equal their merits; God grant that it may be to the utmost of our ability, according to what God requires of us, and in such a manner as is pleasing to Him.

Let us, then, have a singular devotion to our good Angel Guardians: and indeed it is difficult not to have it, and we must be utterly blind and heartless not to entertain towards them all those sentiments of perfect gratitude which we are capable of feeling. Let us honour much the Guardian Angels of the heathen, and let us from time to time go in spirit to converse with them and bear them company, to express the regret of our hearts at the unbelief of those of whom they have the charge. Alas! so far from thanking them for their loving care, these poor infidels do not even know that they are assisted by them. Admire these princes of heaven, and their unwearied patience; consider how many millions of them there are in barbarous lands, who keep untiring watch over these unhappy beings, without ever experiencing from them the least token of gratitude; endeavour to compensate, according to your poor ability, for their neglect; let their ingratitude or their ignorance touch your heart with feelings of love towards these spirits of love. Communicate from time to time in honour of them; practise mortifications, give alms, hear Mass, and have Masses offered for the same object; above all, as we have said, in spirit bear them company, and go often to visit them. Ah! if the princes of the earth; the kings of this world, were in some place where you could enjoy the honour of saluting them, conversing with them at your ease, gaining their friendship, and thus insuring their favour, how would you act? Now here are princes and kings of the empyrean, whom you may salute whenever you please, whose good graces you may gain, and who will be certain to recompense, sooner or later, the affection which you have shown them. As they are so utterly neglected, they will have the greater reason to love you all the more. A great and generous king who, when banished from his kingdom, and deserted by his subjects, should receive some important services, would not fail to requite them conspicuously when he was peaceably restored to his dominions; judge hence what you may expect from these noble spirits. Perform devotions in their honour, to obtain from the Divine Goodness the conversion of the nations under their care, in order that, learning to know the Adorable Jesus, and Mary His sweet Mother, they may also know and honour these nobles of the court of Heaven. I say the same with respect to the Guardian Angels of heretics, and of all those poor country people who have scarcely any more knowledge of the holy angels than have those who live in the midst of heathen lands. Adopt the same practices with reference to these, and pray often that, being known and loved, they may also be duly honoured.

Be devout to the Guardian Angels of your friends; they render you in many instances greater services than you are aware; and sometimes they even give you assistance which you do not receive from your own Angel Guardian. There are occasions on which they interest themselves in your behalf for the sake of those of whom they have the care, knowing that your friendship is profitable to them for the good of their souls. As there is nothing of which these holy spirits have a greater horror than of bad or dangerous friendships, so also one of the things which affords them most consolation is a holy union in the interests of God. The devils do all they can to make men contract evil friendships, and the good angels to break them. The holy angels labour to unite those who are seeking God, and the devils neglect nothing to part them, and to create disunion between them. A holy person having contracted a truly Christian friendship with another, the devil, envious of the good which it was producing, seized one of them, and threw him down some steps to the ground. The Guardian Angel of the friend came speedily to his help, and preserved him from injury; but what is remarkable is this, that it was the friend’s Angel-Guardian, and not the Guardian of him who was cast down by the devil.

In the number of your friends, spiritual directors ought to hold a very prominent place; beseech their good angels to inspire them with such counsels as are purely conformable to the Divine will. You should also highly honour those of your father and mother, of your relations, and of other persons with whom you are connected, and who render you, or may render you, some service. The honour which you pay to their angels will not be without fruit, and you will obtain through their means what you would never gain in any other way. Remember, also, the Angel-Guardians of all those persons who are kind, or have been kind to you; these angels have more to say than you think to the benefits you have received from them. Honour the angels of your enemies, of those who are opposed to you in any way whatever: this is the true means to soften their hearts; or, if it be more for the glory of God that you should suffer at their hands, these glorious spirits will obtain you special graces to make a good use of your sufferings, and cordially to love those who hate you or cause you trouble. Do not forget to pay your homage to those princes of Heaven who guard the Sovereign Pontiff, the Bishops, and other persons who preside over the Church, as well as kings, princes, governors, and other administrators of temporal things.

The Archangels of kingdoms and of provinces must also be objects of your devotion, as also those of the towns and villages in which you dwell and through which you pass. This was a devotion practised by that holy man, Father Peter Faber, first companion of St. Ignatius, and St. Francis de Sales makes honourable mention of it in his “Introduction to a Devout Life.” St. Francis Xavier, when going to the Indies, paid his devotions to the holy Archangel of those countries, and while he was still at Rome he was visited, and powerfully urged to pass over to these foreign lands, by an angel in the garb of an Indian. That Macedonian who appeared to St. Paul (Acts xviii. 9), and pressed him to go into Macedonia to preach the gospel there, was doubtless the Archangel of that country.

We have already observed that there are angels who have the care of the heavens, of the sun, of fire, of air, of the waters, of the earth, and even of the other creatures in the world; and the Angelic Doctor is of opinion that God employs the ministry of these heavenly spirits in all that He ordinarily works here below. It is through their instrumentality that the scourges of His divine justice are averted; that fires and conflagrations are extinguished; that inundations subside; that pestilence is abated; that the air is purified; that lands become fertile; in fine, that we receive all sorts of good things, and are preserved from a multitude of evils, and all this often without our perceiving it, without our knowing the obligations we are under to the holy angels. Let us, then, to-day form a good resolution to thank them sometimes for these services, and to invoke them, and cause them to be invoked, by public and private prayers, in time of famine, war, or pestilence, as well as in other sicknesses and necessities; for fair weather, and for rain, for the fruits of the earth, and in all our various needs. We have also said that they are the protectors to whom we must have recourse in all things, and the most mighty whom Heaven has given us to destroy all the power of our adversaries.

Our churches, and even altars, have angels who guard them; and they gather in troops around the tabernacles where reposes the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, to pay their court to their Sovereign. Many Saints have beheld them paying their adoration to their great King and ours. A holy hermit was told by an angel himself that he had the guardianship of an altar, and that he had never left it since its consecration. It is to these angels we ought often to have recourse, that they may supply for our negligences, our tepidity, and our want of respect in presence of a God of Infinite Majesty in the Most Blessed Sacrament; that they may appease His anger, justly irritated by so many irreverences committed in our churches, and that they may open the eyes of Christians, and those the greater number, who give such little heed to the veneration due to our temples. It is good to associate ourselves with these heavenly spirits, uniting our reverence and love with theirs, and, after the example of the Psalmist (cxxxvii. 1), sing the praises of God in their sight. . .

I conjure with tears all whose hearts are touched with zeal for the glory of the Adorable Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, to practise frequent devotions in honour of the holy angels, and especially of those who abide in our churches, who encompass the Most Holy Sacrament, and who keep watch over altars, that they may ask pardon of the Divine Majesty for our irreverence, our coldness, our blindness, our insensibility; and that they may inspire us with the knowledge of the suitable means to obtain for this Mystery of Love the respect which is Its due.

What Father de Bary, a Jesuit, relates in his excellent book on “Devotion to the Angels,” plainly proves that Communities and Confraternities have their angels also who watch over them. He affirms that he was informed by the confessor of a young man of the town of Eu, who lay dangerously ill, that towards the hour of noon, on a certain Wednesday, two angels, all-resplendent with majesty and beauty, appeared to him, and consoled him to the very moment of his death, which occurred on the following Saturday, as they had predicted to him. Now one of these angels told him that he was his angel-guardian, and the other the tutelary angel of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin established in that city, in the College of the Company of Jesus. The angel of the Confraternity, moreover, said to him that they were sent by the command of the most holy Mother of God thus to assist him, on account of the patience with which he had borne some ill-treatment which he had suffered from his father and mother, especially as he might have avoided it if he had so willed, and also because he had faithfully observed the rules of the Confraternity.

It is a holy practice to implore the aid of the angels of the diocese in which we reside, and of the guardian angels of its bishop and of those under him, that they may succeed in establishing the reign of Jesus Christ in the hearts of the faithful who dwell there, that they may destroy the empire of Satan, and receive the lights and strength necessary to maintain holy discipline in the diocese; and that they may defeat the malice and wiles of the devils, who are ever labouring to counteract the means which God is pleased to employ for the promotion of His divine interests.

Finally, we must be devout to the Angels, to obtain through them purity of mind and body, charity towards our neighbour, and also patience; to the Archangels, to obtain through them a zeal for the interests of God, both for ourselves and others, especially for those who govern in Church and State, for all who are vested with authority, and for the spiritual and temporal good of kingdoms and provinces; to the Principalities for the reformation of our own interior. Man is a little world in himself, and he is bound to govern his passions, and rule as a sovereign over them. But since his power is marvellously weakened by sin, he needs support, that he may not let himself be overcome by himself. The Principalities, who bear this glorious title on account of the rule which God has given them over the inferior angels, will render him powerful assistance if he strives to make himself not unworthy of it; but to this end he must honour with profound reverence these great princes of Paradise.


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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