O God, Who in ineffable providence do deign to send Your holy angels for our defense, grant to Your suppliants both to be defended always by their protection and to rejoice in their eternal company. (Collect for the Feast of the Angels Guardian from the Roman Missal)
Of the members of the Church Triumphant, none are perhaps more mysterious than the orders of the heavenly spirits, created before the foundation of the earth and destined for all time "to serve . . . those who shall inherit salvation" (Heb. 1:14). In truth, the angels, who are made to reflect very closely the glory of God, are destined to be the servants of the righteous of mankind in heaven! That is why Mary is Queen of the angels (and she can send them to our aid, if we ask her!). And yet, while we are on earth, some of the most powerful intercessors we have before God are the angels. Divided into nine choirs, they guard both the material world, directing the operations of nature, and individuals and societies, serving as protectors and helpers. Led by St. Michael, the Prince of the Heavenly Host, standing "before the altar holding a golden thurible . . . to offer up the prayers of all the holy ones on the golden altar, which is before the Throne of God" (Apoc. 3:8), the angels partake of the eternal banquet of the celestial liturgy. They act as our guardians, serve as messengers from God to us and from us to God, surround the altar during Mass on earth, and bear the graces of the Mass like incense back to the altar of God on high.
In St. Michael and the Angels, discover all this and more about the holy angels, as well as St. Michael's special role as "Champion of the Church," "Defender of Christians," "Guardian of Purgatory," "Helper of the Sick and Dying," and the "Holy Standard-Bearer" who presents souls before the holy light of God. Find also numerous devotions to the angels, including litanies to our Guardian Angel, to St. Michael, St. Raphael, and St. Gabriel. A special treat is the prayer to our guardian angel asking him to go in our place to attend Mass when we cannot! In all, St. Michael and the Angels is a treasure trove of information and inspiration about the holy angels—our silent partners in the way of salvation.
O captains and leaders of the armies of heaven, unworthy as we are, we beseech you without cease to surround us with your intercessions and cover us beneath the shelter of the glory of your ethereal wings. We bend our knee and cry out with perseverance: "Deliver us from danger, O Princes of the Powers on high!" (Troparion of the Byzantine Synaxis of the Heavenly Powers)
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