This is the second installment of a two-part series on angels.
Throughout the history of man, there have been reports of angels by people of almost every faith, and the sacred books of the three major monotheistic faiths of the East and West - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - contain many references to angels in heaven and on Earth.In Christianity, in particular, "The empire of angels is as vast as God's creation," reflects Billy Graham in "Angels: God's Secret Agents." "They crisscross the Old and New testaments, being mentioned directly or indirectly nearly 300 times."
In a unpredictable world so beset with violence and strife, it is comforting to think that perhaps angels are there, looking out for us (despite, at times, our getting in their way), angels who have our long-range, even heavenly, welfare in mind. To this end, consider what prophets and sages have said about angels throughout the centuries:
- "An angel is a member of that family of wondrous beings who, ere the worlds were made, millions of ages back, have stood around the throne of God . . . and served him with a keen ecstatic love." - John Henry Newman
- "All arrangements that are carried out between heaven and earth are carried out through angels . . ." - Mirza Bhulam Bhmad
- "I believe in angels because the Bible says there are angels; and I believe the Bible to be the true Word of God." - Billy Graham
- "Where scripture speaks of the world's creation, it is not plainly said whether or when the angels were created; but if mention is made, it is implicit under the name of `heaven,' when it is said, `In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . .' " - St. Augustine
- "But you from the beginning were made spiritual, possessing a life . . . not subject to death." - God speaking to angels in the Book of Enoch
- "Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." - John Milton, "Paradise Lost, IV"
- "Their garments are white, but with an unearthly whiteness. I cannot describe it, because it cannot be compared to earthly whiteness; it is much softer to the eye. These bright Angels are enveloped in a light so different from ours that by comparison everything else seems dark. When you see a band of fifty, you are lost in amazement. They seem clothed with golden plates, constantly moving, like so many suns." - Pere Lamy
- "For it has pleased the Lord to manifest himself to me. He has opened the interiors of my mind or spirit to be in the spiritual world with angels, and at the same time in the natural world with men, and this now for 27 years." - Emanuel Swedenborg
- "So great is the power of angels in the spiritual world that, if I should make known all that I have witnessed in regard to it, it would exceed belief. Any obstruction there that ought to be removed because it is contrary to Divine order the angels cast down or overthrow merely by an effort of the will and a look." - Swedenborg
- "Though they are so great, so glorious, so pure, so wonderful, that the very sight of them (if we were allowed to see them) would strike us to the earth, as it did the prophet Daniel, holy and righteous as he was, yet they are our fellow-servants and our fellow-workers, and they carefully watch over and defend even the humblest of us." - Cardinal Newman
- "I looked up at the clouds, and two men were coming there, headfirst like arrows slanting down; and as they came, they sang a sacred song and the thunder was like drumming. I will sing it for you. The song and drumming were like this: "Behold a sacred voice is calling you; All over the sky a sacred voice is calling." - Black Elk Speaks
- "For every soul, there is a guardian watching it." - The Koran
- "Everyone, no matter how humble he may be, has angels to watch over him. They are heavenly, pure and splendid, and yet they have been given us to keep us company on our way; they have been given the task of keeping careful watch over you, so that you do not become separated from Christ, their Lord.
"And not only do they want to protect you from the dangers which waylay you throughout your journey: they are actually by your side, helping your soul as you strive to go ever higher in you union with God through Christ." - Pope Pius XII
- "Make yourself familiar with angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for, without being seen, they are present with you." - St. Francis de Sales
- "I believe we are free, within limits, and yet there is an unseen hand, a guiding angel, that somehow, like a submerged propeller, drives us on." - Rabindranath Tagore
- "Every visible thing in this world is put in charge of an angel." - St. Augustine
- "Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way." - Exodus 23:20
- "For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." - Psalm 91:11.
- "The highest ranks of angels do not join in our struggle against our vices but dwell with us only when, above all conflict, we are with God in peace, in contemplation, and in perennial love." - Jan Van Ruysbroeck