Five Facts About the Angelic Nature
Angels are important instruments of God's will. Though they are invisible, they are both active in our world and capable of helping us. Here are five fascinating aspects of the nature angels and demons, as well as some important differences.
Angels are personal creatures: Though we only know the names of a few, angels are personal creatures like us, and possess names for they are unique individual spirits. Though they are pure spirits, without bodies, they are also rational, possessing an intellect and a will, and can freely choose what they want to do. The holy angels, of course, always choose in accord with God’s will, for they have definitively chosen the way of goodness. Their free wills are set only on God and what is good. The demons, well, they’re just the opposite.
Angels are already saved, demons damned: The spirits with whom we interact in this life have already made their eternal choice for or against God. The holy angels who minister to us and assist us on our path to Heaven, are already saved and glorified, living with God in supreme happiness. The demons who tempt us, seek to harm us, and do everything they can to lead us away from God, are already damned. They have definitively rejected God and will never adjust that decision. They bring Hell everywhere they go and try to pull us into their state of disobedience and rebellion against God.
Angelic intellects are extremely powerful: While angels are capable of reasoning like we do, their intellects are of such a nature that they take in the full meaning of a thing when they simply think about it. Their intellects are infused with knowledge as a gift to their nature. This knowledge includes a knowledge of all immaterial and material things, including all things that happen in the created world from the moment of creation, except for what occurs in our interior lives. Using their angelic will, angels direct their intellect to other angels in order to communicate with them. There is no need for vocal chords or sounds; they simply direct their mind to the other angel and, with that angel’s consent, communicate their thoughts to them directly.
While pure spirits, with no matter, angels can influence the physical world: Both the holy angels and demons are capable of influencing the physical world. In cases of home infestation and oppression, demons reveal that they are capable of banging on walls, creating smells, blocking light, pushing people, appearing in black shapes, and breaking pipes and wiring, among other things. Angels, however, are also capable of acting upon the physical world, but in the opposite manner. Relevant to these above examples of oppression, the angels can heal us and cure us from illness, and even help us to sleep better. There are also times when they are permitted to influence and even move the body for the good of the person. In the apparition of the Angel of Portugal to the seers at Fatima, we see that the angel was capable of both appearing to them in a visible form as well as bringing the children Holy Communion. All of this angelic activity can be seen as part of their counter measures against the demons, for, as St. Thomas says, “the demons are held off by the good angels, lest they hurt as much as they would” (Summa 1, Q. 113, A 4).
The holy angels behold God face to face, while the demons never have and never will: All of the angels who assist us in this world, whether by communicating grace or revelations to us, protecting us from diabolical activity, or assisting us as we navigate the fallen physical world, do so in a state of complete everlasting happiness. Not only are their intellects infused with the knowledge of all things material and immaterial, but they are also gifted, by their obedience, with the knowledge of God Himself, by which they behold Him as He is.
This supreme happiness is permanent and enduring within them, and it animates their obedience and dedication to fulfilling God’s will. Every moment that our Guardian Angels stand by our sides, they are in this state of glorification and happiness. In this, we can take great comfort.
The demons, however, not only never beheld God prior to their fall, but also do not now have that great blessing. They understand that the holy angels experience this and that they never will. This leaves a supreme void and defect in their natures, for they were meant to be glorified and reside with God in Heaven. Instead, they have permanently set their wills against God, refusing ever to be repentant, making themselves incapable of even enduring a vision of God if it were ever granted to them. The repugnance that they feel toward God is deeply painful. He is a light which can now only hurt them should they look upon It, for their vision is completely darkened. The light can no longer penetrate it, and hate, not love, boils within them. These are the ones who hunt us. But the glorious holy angels are the ones who love and protect us.
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