On the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (September 29), we are presented with that amusing gospel episode about the calling of Nathanael. (cfr. Jn 1,47-51) We might be wondering how Nathanael’s vocation is related to the existence of angels.
My personal take on this question is that Nathanael, whom Christ described as a man without guile, must have been enabled to recognize Christ as the Son of God, the King of Israel, through the help of the angels.
When Christ told him, in response to Nathanael’s question about how Christ knew him, that Christ saw him under the fig tree before Philip came, some angels must have been involved in that event.
We can somehow support that speculation by referring to the fact that at the end of gospel episode, Christ told Nathanael, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” What Nathanael was doing under the fig tree must have something to do about who the Son of Man is, and about heaven and angels.
In any event, our faith tells us that angels are real and that they are our great ally, helping us in all our needs, from the most trivial to the most important. Yes, angels exist. They are real. We need to say this now since angels, if they are ever referred to nowadays, are often considered as mere figments of our imagination that at best can be used as literary and sentimental devices.
Obviously, faith is needed to believe in angels. They are creatures whose presence goes beyond what our senses can perceive. They can however assume bodily forms as mentioned several times in the Bible. But essentially, they are pure spirits. As such, they are readily available to help us, since they are not limited by time and space.
We have to develop and popularize a devotion to angels, especially to the archangels. They are great allies that we can count on especially during our difficult moments. They are so close and so identified with God that we can refer to them as God’s organic or vital extensions of his own self, if we may describe them that.
Remember what Christ said about angels in general? It was when he talked about the angels of little children whom the disciples wanted to shoo away from Christ for being a disturbance. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones,” he said. “For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Mt 18,10)
Our guardian angels, for example, are very helpful to us in our task of navigating the most tricky spiritual and supernatural realities. When there are strong temptations, or when some unknown evil spirits seem to bother us, or when we are undertaking a spiritual and supernatural project like coming up with an apostolic initiative, our guardian angels make themselves available to help us in any way.
It’s important that we be aware of the existence of these very powerful angels who, for sure, would be most willing and most happy to help us in their own way. We just have to enliven our faith in them and develop the appropriate devotion.
Many great saints have benefited from the help of the angels. It would be good if we train ourselves to develop an intimate relationship with them. To be sure, only good things can come out of such relationship!*