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Blog Post #44: Angels...They're Real!

September 28, 2020 by Carol Kurivial

Angels | Archangels | Guardian Angels | Encounters | Messengers

It’s an exciting week in the Catholic Church! Tuesday, September 29, is the Feast Day for Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, and Friday, October 2, is the Memorial of Guardian Angels.

Whether you’re into angels or not, they’re real as the leaves falling from the trees, your cousin, Joe (if you have one), and your washing machine!

Thanks to the Bible, traditional Church teaching, and human experience, we have the opportunity to know a great deal about angels. (PAUSE) Angels...we’re talking intelligence in non-human form! Do I have your attention?

Several of my friends and acquaintances have had my attention over the years when they shared their own experiences of what they believed to be an angel visitation. And after hearing their stories, I’m a believer. Interestingly, in each case, there was an extreme situation involved: a critical medical emergency, the death of a baby, and/or an extremely difficult season in the person’s life.

And from my perspective, that’s consistent with Scripture where angels tend to show up during pivotal moments, as in the announcement by the Angel Gabriel to Mary that she was chosen to be the Mother of God Incarnate, or the three times angels appeared to Joseph in three different dreams: the affirmation to take Mary as his wife, the instruction to take his family and flee to Egypt, and then again, the instruction to return to Nazareth. And, of course, lest you have forgotten, it was the angels who announced the birth of the Christ Child to the shepherds. Can you even imagine that sight! But having said all this, we know that angels are also around for the ordinary, everyday stuff that we all experience, and that’s comforting to know.

Ordinary or extraordinary, angels, and their role in our lives, fascinates me.

For starters, I’m fascinated with the fact that God created angels in the first place. He didn’t have to you, you know. He created them to help us, to protect us, to send messages, to affect our salvation and the state of our souls, and for a zillion other reasons. Have you ever pondered how creative and generous it was of God to offer us the gift of angels? And if God takes these kinds of pains to help us on earth, just imagine what Heaven will be like!

In the Catholic faith we believe that everyone has a guardian angel and I’ve started paying more attention to mine in the past few years. And by “paying attention” I mean that I talk to, thank, ask for extra protection, visualize their presence, and things like that.

We are told that our guardian angels have a name and I have asked mine to reveal it to me, which hasn’t happened yet. So, until it does, I’ve gone ahead and named my angel “Maggie-Jo” after two of my favorite saints, St. Mary Magdalene and St. Joan of Arc. In truth, I have a lot of favorites, but these two are at the top of my list because I love the fact that they were both so courageous for Christ. I even wear their medals to remind me to follow their bold and brave example. 

Some people might think I’m being disrespectful to be naming my guardian angel when that’s probably not their real name, but I mean no disrespect. Calling my guardian angel “Maggie-Jo” just helps me to remember the reality of this incredible spirit and amazing gift from God. It helps me to be grateful for all that extra protection and to know that I’m never really alone, but surrounded at all times by the supernatural realm. It comforts me and gives me strength...and, quite frankly, that comfort and strength makes a difference.

But back to my fascinations...I’m fascinated that angels are bodiless spirits and that they have intelligence greater than our own. I don’t particularly need to see an angel’s body to know that they exist. I trust Scripture and tradition. Isn’t that what true faith implies? It makes sense to me that angels would be bodiless, but I love knowing that they can present as humans if they need to. So mind your manners and “do not neglect hospitality, for some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2) As for the intelligence piece, it relieves me to know that their intelligence is greater than mine. Considering the purpose of their creation, they would need to be more intelligent. After all, they are here to guide and protect. If our wisdom was greater than theirs, we wouldn’t need their guidance and protection. They would need ours.

I’m fascinated with every description I’ve ever heard of angels: huge, fearsome, warriors, brilliant, wings/no wings, beautiful, handsome and the list goes on. But since angels are spirit, do they really need to have a physical description? From my perspective, the obvious answer is no, but there must be something quite extraordinary about an angel experience, whether it be in a dream or otherwise, because the folks in the Bible, as well as modern day people, seem to be certain that their angel experience was real and unmistakable. That implies there is something quite unique and special about an angel visitation. The same holds true for those handful of people I’ve talked to myself...they just seemed to know that they had been visited by an angel. They...just...knew.

And I’m especially fascinated that angels can influence our imagination. I asked my guardian angel to influence mine as I wrote this blog, and I can’t help but wonder which of the points I’ve made were influenced by my angel? I wish I could ask and hear an answer, but while I can’t see and hear my guardian angel, I know that my guardian angel can see and hear me and I’m good with that!

While this blog post is winding down, let me reassure you that I’m not done with this angel thing. Now that I’ve kicked up some interest, I plan to do more reading and research. I’m...just...SO...curious. And all because this week in the Catholic faith we celebrate our three archangels ~ Michael, Gabriel and Raphael ~ as well as our own guardian angels! 

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