In the Holy Church’s traditional calendar, this week on September 29 we celebrate the Feast of St Michael the Archangel.

In the newer calendar, all three archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, are celebrated on that same day. On October 2 we revel in the feast of our Holy Guardian Angels.

Speaking of archangels, the aforementioned are the only three angels whose names we have from Holy Writ. In 1982 the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told us not to invoke by name angels other than those three. It’s probably OK if you want to nickname your own guardian angel. Just don’t get into invoking unknown angels by names that we cannot verify from divine revelation.

The existence of spiritual, non-corporeal beings we call angels is a truth of Catholic Faith (CCC 328). “Angel” comes from Greek for “messenger” or “herald”, which describes their role as God’s servants. Because they are not bound by the limitations of matter, they simply are where they are in action, while they simultaneously behold the face of God. They know God’s will.

As angels are bodiless, they don’t have to learn through five senses. They simply know and understand things in their essences. They don’t “divide and compose” in order to learn, comparing data points to understand and make decisions. Hence, angels can never waver or change their minds, as we do.

Because angelic persons, arranged in an unfathomably vast hierarchy, are not individuated in matter, as we human persons are, each angel is his own species, as different from other angels as the species of giraffe is from the species of sea urchin. As spiritual beings, even the least of the angels entirely transcends the material world, which – as child’s play is to us – they can manipulate to the subatomic level.

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