“This world can’t be it!” I say this about once a day, usually after the third poop diaper. Sure, real life has it moments of glory but quite often, reality bites… so hey, let’s believe in angels! Our world is begging for otherworldly mystery (see Harry Potter, Star Trek, Hugh Hephner, Yo Gabba Gabba!). We crave excitement, battles against good and evil, even supernatural feats. What’s amazing is we don’t need to turn to fiction. The belief in angels “stretches your spirit beyond your senses and our mundane world. It gives you the feeling of a small child in a large house with many rooms and stories and mysteries in it. It is an antidote to the poisonous modern feeling of being in a small, stuffy, boring, polluted, trivial, one-level universe. ” -Peter Kreeft, Angels and Demons
As a Catholic, I believe in angels because God revealed them in the bible. But angels cross over the religion divide. Many faiths believe in angels or something similar: Islams, Hindus, Mormons, Muslims etc. Even when I was agnostic I found the study of angels fascinating and I’m sure this is true for many atheists. They are simply hard to ignore. Angels have been part of our culture in art and literature for centuries and I want to learn more. In upcoming posts I will be cracking the angel nut (from a Catholic perspective) starting with the Nine Choirs of angels and their portrayal in art. It turns out angels aren’t just fat cheeked, feather wrapped porcelain hallmark figurines sitting on clouds singing carols. The following excerpt from the book Angels and Demons by Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston College, shines a lite on our new-age misconceptions:
Angels: The Twelve most important things to know about them:
- They really exist. Not just in our minds, or our myths, or our symbols, or our culture. They are as real as your dog, or your sister, or electricity.
- They’re present, right here, right now, right next to you, reading these words with you.
- They’re not cute, cuddly, comfortable, chummy, or “cool”. They are fearsome and formidable. They are huge. They are warriors.
- They are the real “extra-terrestrials”, the real “Super-men”, the ultimate aliens. Their powers are far beyond those of all fictional creatures.
- They are more brilliant minds than Einstein.
- They can literally move the heavens and the earth if God permits them.
- There are also evil angels, fallen angels, demons, or devils. These too are not myths. Demon possessions, and exorcisms, are real.
- Angels are aware of you, even though you can’t usually see or hear them. But you can communicate with them. You can talk to them without even speaking.
- You really do have your very own “guardian angel”. Everybody does.
- Angels often come disguised. “Do not neglect hospitality, for some have entertained angels unawares”—that’s a warning from life’s oldest and best instruction manual.
- We are on a protected part of a great battlefield between angels and devils, extending to eternity.
- Angels are sentinels standing at the crossroads where life meets death. They work especially at moments of crisis, at the brink of disaster—for bodies, for souls, and for nations.
- via Angels by Peter Kreeft.