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Reflections: Announcements Section

Angelic Announcement

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Also See: Angels (Topic Page)

"The whole air about us is filled with angels." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Air and earth and ocean, everything is full of angels" (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for, without being seen, they are present with you." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"The justest of men can not without fear behold an angel" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"The first thing about the angels that we ought to imitate is their consciousness of the presence of God." (St. John Vianney)

"The Greek word Angel means one who delivers news." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Since God often sends us inspirations by means of His angels, we should frequently return on aspirations to Him by means of the same messengers." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"That we may be assisted by these blessed spirits, let us devoutly venerate them and be untiring in our homage; sincere devotion reconciles to God and unites us with the angels." (Adam of St. Victor)

"[Angels] are strong and ready to fulfill the divine will, and they are by nature so swift that they are found immediately everywhere the divine nod commands them to be. They guard the regions of the earth; they are set over nations and places, as allotted them by their Creator; and they manage all our concerns and assist us." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church)

"Angels, however, are revealed not as they really are, but transformed (as men are able to behold them) into whatever the Lord commands." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church)

"He has given His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways' (PS 91:11). These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instill confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection." (St. Bernard)

"The heavenly spirits visit us, not as it seems fit to them, but as the occasion conduces to our advantage, for they are ever looking upon the glory and fullness of the Divine Wisdom; hence it follows, The angel Gabriel was sent." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Let us invoke with our desires the paranymphs of the most high King, the defenders of Christ's flock: these are called mountains, encircling the throne of God by a privilege all theirs. These form the triple hierarchy of heaven, flourishing under the one divine Wisdom, and enjoying the threefold light; they perfect us, cleans us, enlighten us, that our soul may rise from sin. They draw ever nearer to God in contemplation; when sent to do his will, they depart not from him, for their coming and going is all within God. They keep the enemy at bay, they guide the just, they assist and protect their loving clients, and console them when afflicted. Though themselves already blessed, yet delegated to us, they carry our prayers to God: they abandon not the saints on earth, but desire their company, that their own ranks may be completed. O happy citizens these! Who, while fulfilling their offices, lose not the joys of heaven: let us pray to them with confidence, that they may ever assist us before God. Amen." (Sequence)

"Just as the foreknown, the infidels...are not deprived of the interior help of natural reason; so neither are they deprived of that exterior help granted by God to the whole human race - namely the guardianship of the angels. And although the help which they receive therefrom does not result in their deserving eternal life by good works, it does nevertheless conduce to their being protected from certain evils which would hurt both themselves and others. For even the demons are held off by the good angels, lest they hurt as much as they would." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Blessed be ye, O holy angels, for that your charity is not wearied out by the crimes of men; among so many other benefits, we thank you for keeping the earth habitable, by deigning to dwell always therein. Solitude often weighs heavily upon the hearts of God's children, in the great towns, and in the paths of the world, where one meets only strangers or enemies; but if the number of the just grows less, yours never diminishes. In the midst of the excited multitude, as well as in the desert, not a human being that has not beside him an angel, the representative of universal Providence over wicked and good alike. O blessed spirits! You and we have the same fatherland, the same thought, the same love; why should the continued noises of a frivolous crowd disturb the heavenly life we may lead even now with you? Does the tumult of public places hinder you from holding your choirs there, or prevent the Most High from hearing your harmonies? We also, beholding by faith the face of our heavenly Father, which you ever delightedly contemplate, we wish to sing in every place the praises of our Lord and to unite at all times our adoration with yours. Thus, when our manners have become altogether angelic, the present life will be full of peace, and we shall be well prepared for eternity." (Liturgical Year)

"Gregory himself in a homily (De Centum Ovibus 34) says that 'those are called archangels who announce sublime things.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Observe with what care God builds up our faith. An Angel teaches Mary; an Angel teaches Joseph; an Angel the shepherds also, of whom it is said, And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Angels (Topical Scripture) | Angels (Prayers)

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"As Chrysostom observes (Theophylact., Enarrationes in Lucam 2:8), the angel who announced Christ's birth did not go to Jerusalem, nor did he seek the Scribes and Pharisees, for they were corrupted, and full of ill-will. But the shepherds were single-minded, and were like the patriarchs and Moses in their mode of life." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But John [the Baptist] is called an angel not by community of nature, according to the heresy of Origen, but by the dignity of his office; for angel in Greek is in Latin, nuntius, (messenger) by which name that man is rightly called, who was sent by God, that be might bear witness of the light, and announce to the world the Lord, coming in the flesh; since it is evident that all who are priests may by their office of preaching the Gospel be called angels, as time prophet Malachi says, The lips of the priest keep knowledge, and they seek the law at his mouth, because he is the Angel of the Lord of hosts." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"Now Anna, both from the duties of her widowhood and her manner of life, is found to be such that she is thought worthy to announce the Redeemer of the world. As it follows,' She was of a great age, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity...' (Lk. 2:36.)" (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

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"Thus the Angel first announces His name, declares His Cross, and confesses His Passion; but straightway proclaims Him risen and their Lord. An Angel after such sufferings, after the grave acknowledges Him Lord; how then shall man judge that the Godhead was diminished by the flesh, or that His Might failed in His Passion. He says, which was crucified, and points out the place where the Lord was laid, that they should not think that it was another, and not the same, who had risen from the dead. And if the Lord reappears in the same flesh, and gives evidence of His resurrection, why should man suppose that he himself shall reappear in other flesh?" (St. Peter Chrysologus, Doctor of the Church)

"Now the divinely established order is this, that things above men's ken are revealed to them by angels, as Dionysius says (De Coelesti Hierarchia iv). But Christ on rising did not return to the familiar manner of life, but to a kind of immortal and God-like condition, according to Romans 6:10: 'For in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.' And therefore it was fitting for Christ's Resurrection not to be witnessed by men directly, but to be proclaimed to them by angels. Accordingly, Hilary (Commentarium in Matthaeum cap. ult) says: 'An angel is therefore the first herald of the Resurrection, that it might be declared out of obedience to the Father's will.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Happy women! who merited to announce to the world the triumph of the Resurrection!" (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"Fitly too is this woman [Mary Magdalene], who was be the first to announce the joy of our Lord's resurrection, said to have been cured of seven devils, lest any one worthily repenting of his sins should despair of pardon for what he had done, and that it might be shown that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

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Also See: Angels (Topic Page)

"Angel means messenger. So all the heavenly spirits, so far as they make known Divine things, are called angels. But the superior angels enjoy a certain excellence, as regards this manifestation, from which the superior orders are denominated. The lowest order of angels possess no excellence above the common manifestation; and therefore it is denominated from manifestation only; and thus the common name remains as it were proper to the lowest order, as Dionysius says (De Coelesti Hierarchia v). Or we may say that the lowest order can be specially called the order of angels, forasmuch as they announce things to us immediately." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The execution of the angelic ministrations consists in announcing Divine things. Now in the execution of any action there are beginners and leaders; as in singing, the precentors; and in war, generals and officers; this belongs to the Principalities. There are others who simply execute what is to be done; and these are the Angels. Others hold a middle place; and these are the Archangels" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[A]ngels are so called as announcing the least things; and the archangels in the greatest; by the virtues miracles are wrought; by the powers hostile powers are repulsed; and the principalities preside over the good spirits themselves." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

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"Some say that Gabriel was of the highest order; because Gregory says (Hom. 34 in Evangelia, de Centum Ovibus): 'It was right that one of the highest angels should come, since his message was most sublime.' But this does not imply that he was of the highest order of all, but in regard to the angels: since he was an archangel. Thus the Church calls him an archangel, and Gregory himself in a homily (De Centum Ovibus 34) says that 'those are called archangels who announce sublime things.' It is therefore sufficiently credible that he was the highest of the archangels. And, as Gregory says (De Centum Ovibus 34), this name agrees with his office: for 'Gabriel means Power of God. This message therefore was fittingly brought by the Power of God, because the Lord of hosts and mighty in battle was coming to overcome the powers of the air.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It was fitting for the mystery of the Incarnation to be announced to the Mother of God by an angel, for three reasons. First, that in this also might be maintained the order established by God, by which Divine things are brought to men by means of the angels. Wherefore Dionysius says (De Coelesti Hierarchia iv)that 'the angels were the first to be taught the Divine mystery of the loving kindness of Jesus: afterwards the grace of knowledge was imparted to us through them. Thus, then, the most god-like Gabriel made known to Zachary that a prophet son would be born to him; and, to Mary, how the Divine mystery of the ineffable conception of God would be realized in her.' Secondly, this was becoming to the restoration of human nature which was to be effected by Christ. Wherefore Bede says in a homily (in Annunt.): 'It was an apt beginning of man's restoration that an angel should be sent by God to the Virgin who was to be hallowed by the Divine Birth: since the first cause of man's ruin was through the serpent being sent by the devil to cajole the woman by the spirit of pride.' Thirdly, because this was becoming to the virginity of the Mother of God. Wherefore Jerome says in a sermon on the Assumption: 'It is well that an angel be sent to the Virgin; because virginity is ever akin to the angelic nature. Surely to live in the flesh and not according to the flesh is not an earthly but a heavenly life.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The angel of the Annunciation appeared in a bodily vision to the Blessed Virgin. And this indeed was fitting, first in regard to that which was announced. For the angel came to announce the Incarnation of the invisible God. Wherefore it was becoming that, in order to make this known, an invisible creature should assume a form in which to appear visibly: forasmuch as all the apparitions of the Old Testament are ordered to that apparition in which the Son of God appeared in the flesh." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is therefore sufficiently credible that [Gabriel] was the highest of the archangels. And, as Gregory says (De Centum Ovibus 34), this name agrees with his office: for 'Gabriel means Power of God. This message therefore was fittingly brought by the Power of God, because the Lord of hosts and mighty in battle was coming to overcome the powers of the air.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

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"Whereby it is not difficult to discern between good and bad spirits, for if joy has succeeded to fear, we may know that relief has come from God, because the peace of the soul is a sign of the Divine Presence; but if the fear remains unshaken, it is an enemy who is seen" (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church)

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Also See: Angels (Topic Page)

"So valuable to heaven is the dignity of the human soul that every member of the human race has a guardian angel from the moment the person begins to be." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"For as surely as Tobias beheld with his bodily eyes the Archangel Raphael, we know by faith that the angel of the Lord accompanies us from the cradle to the tomb. Let us have the same trustful confidence in him." (Liturgical Year)

"In every place show respect to thy angel. Let gratitude for his benefits incite thee to honor his greatness. Love this thy future coheir, the guardian appointed for thee by the Father during they childhood. For though we are souls of God, we are as yet but children, and long and dangerous is our journey. But God hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone...Yes; where the road is smooth enough for a child they will content themselves with guiding thee, and sustaining thy footsteps, as one does for children. But if trials threaten to surpass they strength, they will bear thee up in their hands. Oh those hands of angels! Thanks to them, what fearful straits we have passed through, as it were without thinking, and with no other impression left upon us, than that of a nightmare suddenly dispelled!" (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"It is of faith, on the testimony of the Scriptures and of unanimous tradition, that God commits to His angels the guardianship of men, who are called to contemplate Him together with these blessed spirits in their common fatherland. Catholic theology teaches that this protection is extend to every member of the human race, without any distinction of just and sinners, infidels and baptized. To ward off dangers; to uphold man in his struggle against the demons; to awaken in him holy thoughts; to prevent him from sinning, and even, at times, to chastise him; to pray for him, and to present his prayers to God: such is the office of the Guardian Angel. So special is his mission, that one angel does not undertake the guardianship of several persons simultaneously; do diligent in his care, that he follows his ward from the first day to the last of his mortal existence, receiving the soul as it quits this life, and bearing it from the feet of the sovereign Judge to the place it has merited in heaven, or to its temporary sojourn in the place of expiation and purification." (Liturgical Year)

"Man while in this state of life, is, as it were, on a road by which he should journey towards heaven. On this road man is threatened by many dangers both from within and from without, according to Psalm 150:4 'In this way wherein I walked, they have hidden a snare for me.' And therefore as guardians are appointed for men who have to pass by an unsafe road, so an angel guardian is assigned to each man as long as he is a wayfarer. When, however, he arrives at the end of life he no longer has a guardian angel; but in the kingdom he will have an angel to reign with him, in hell a demon to punish him." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[M]an is guarded in two ways; in one way by particular guardianship, according as to each man an angel is appointed to guard him; and such guardianship belongs to the lowest order of the angels, whose place it is, according to Gregory, to announce the 'lesser things'; for it seems to be the least of the angelic offices to procure what concerns the salvation of only one man. The other kind of guardianship is universal, multiplied according to the different orders. For the more universal an agent is, the higher it is." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"As long as the child is in the mother's womb it is not entirely separate, but by reason of a certain intimate tie, is still part of her: just as the fruit while hanging on the tree is part of the tree. And therefore it can be said with some degree of probability, that the angel who guards the mother guards the child while in the womb. But at its birth, when it becomes separate from the mother, an angel guardian is appointed to it; as [St. Jerome] says." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Each man has an angel guardian appointed to him... [A]ngel guardians are given to men also as regards invisible and [secret] things, concerning the salvation of each one in his own regard. Hence individual angels are appointed to guard individual men." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"...for not only has our Lord set Bishops to guard the Flock, he has set the very Angels." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"It is from the lowest of the nine choirs, the nearest to ourselves, that he Guardian Angels are for the most part selected. God reserves to the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones the honor of forming His own immediate court. The Dominations, from the steps of His throne, preside over the government of the universe; the Virtues watch over the course of nature's laws, the preservation of species, and the movements of the heavens; to Powers hold the spirits of wickedness in subjection. The human race in its entirety, and also its great social bodies, the nations and the churches, are confided to the Principalities; while the Archangels, who preside over smaller communities, seem also to have the office of transmitting to the Angels the commands of God, together with the love and light which come down even to us from the first and highest hierarchy. O the depths of the wisdom of God! Thus, then, the admirable distribution of offices among the choirs of heavenly spirits terminates in the function committed to the lowest rank the guardianship of men, for whom the universe subsists. Such is the teaching of the School; and the apostle, in like manner, says: 'Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?' (Heb i. 14)." (Liturgical Year)

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"Joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, births and birthday celebrations, wedding anniversaries of the parents, departures, separations and home-comings, important and far-reaching decisions, the death of those who are dear, etc. - all of these mark God's loving intervention in the family's history. They should be seen as suitable moments for thanksgiving, for petition, for trusting abandonment of the family into the hands of their common Father in heaven." (The Pontifical Council for the Family, 1995)

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"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." (Rom. 12:15)

"[W]hen many rejoice together, each one has more exuberant joy, for they are kindled and inflamed one by the other." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Moreover, when in the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church, all the members are united and flourish, it results, according to St. Paul, that the joy or pain of one member is shared by all the rest, so that if one of the brethren in Christ is suffering in mind or body the others come to his help and succor him as far as in them lies. The members are solicitous in regard of each other, and if one member suffer all the members suffer in sympathy, and if one member rejoice all the others rejoice also." (Pope Leo XIII, Octobri Mense, 1891)

"In either case there is a proof of friendship, viz. when a man rejoices with the joyful, and when he sorrows with the sorrowful." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]hose who are in pain are consoled when their friends sympathize with them...When one is in pain, it is natural that the sympathy of a friend should afford consolation: whereof the Philosopher indicates a twofold reason (Ethica Nicomachea ix,11). The first is because, since sorrow has a depressing effect, it is like a weight whereof we strive to unburden ourselves: so that when a man sees others saddened by his own sorrow, it seems as though others were bearing the burden with him, striving, as it were, to lessen its weight; wherefore the load of sorrow becomes lighter for him: something like what occurs in the carrying of bodily burdens. The second and better reason is because when a man's friends condole with him, he sees that he is loved by them, and this affords him pleasure... Consequently, since every pleasure assuages sorrow..., it follows that sorrow is mitigated by a sympathizing friend." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It belongs to the same virtue to love a man and to rejoice about him, since joy results from love... wherefore love is reckoned a virtue, rather than joy, which is an effect of love." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

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"The word 'Evangelium' (Gospel) is rendered in Latin 'bonus nuntius,' or 'bona annuntiatio' (good news). It may indeed be used on all occasions whenever any good is announced; but it has come to be appropriated to the announcement of the Savior." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

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