Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name: through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Greetings! This is Fr. Joseph Gleason here in the little village of Ivashovo, Russia. We are just west of Rostov the Great, about 3 hours north of Moscow.
Today, let’s talk about angels. Throughout Holy Scripture, we see heavenly angels intimately involved in the affairs of men. The Bible says that heavenly angels watch over each of our children, and that sometimes when we show kindness to strangers, we are actually entertaining angels unaware. Multiple passages in Scripture make it clear that angels in heaven know and care about what is happening here, on earth. For Christians, angels are our guardians, intercessors, and friends.
Holy Scripture teaches us to offer prayers to angels, by communicating directly with them. In Psalm 102 (or in some translations, Psalm 103), we speak directly to the angels, asking them to bless God:
“Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders. Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts: you ministers of his that do his will.” As you can see here in Psalm 102:20-21, we are talking to the angels themselves.
Three times in the New Testament, we are commanded to sing & pray the Psalms (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, James 5:13). And if we obey that command, then at some point we will sing & pray Psalm 102:20. Upon doing this, we will be directly addressing angels in our songs & prayers.
In the example from Psalm 102, we communicate with the angels, asking them to bless the Lord. And of course we may communicate with them regarding any other topics as well. Just as I may ask my mother to pray for me, or my wife to pray for me, I may also ask Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, or my own guardian angel to pray for me.
What do the angels do with our prayers, after they receive them? They do the same thing with them that my mother and my wife do . . . they turn to God and present my prayers directly to Him. The book of Revelation observes that various beings in heaven “fell down before the Lamb,” each of them having “golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” (Rev. 5:8). But they don’t keep our prayers locked up in those vials forever. They ultimately offer our prayers directly to the Lord Himself:
“And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.” (Rev. 8:4)
We talk to the angels because the Scriptures tell us to do so. We pray to the angels because the Church has always done so. It’s a wonderful thing!
Here are the words to an amazing song:
Commanders of the heavenly hosts, we who are unworthy beseech you,
by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory,
and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you:
“Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commanders of the powers on high!”
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