| By Pete Burak

Don’t sell angels short!

I don’t like horror movies, so you can imagine my discomfort at the rise of such films in recent years. Clearly, our culture is fascinated with the spiritual realm and their various interpretations of the beings that inhabit it.

Why is it that demons and evil spirits seem to be endlessly fascinating, while angels are relegated to classics such as “Touched by an Angel,” “Michael,” “Field of Dreams,” and my personal favorite, “Angels in the Outfield”? A different column can examine how dangerous, reckless, non-Catholic, spiritual dabbling can be, but it’s worth noting that we often ascribe great power and pizzazz to the dark side and maintain a cartoonish or impotent image (think cute baby cherubs with tiny wings) of the spiritual beings willed by God to help accomplish his will.

 Angels are mysterious, in that we don’t have a complete understanding of who they are and what they do. However, the Church eagerly acknowledges their existence, highlights their unique contribution throughout salvation history, and receives with joy their ongoing protection, power and work in the world today. The catechism has these profound lines in paragraphs 351 and 352:

“The angels surround Christ their Lord. They serve him especially in the accomplishment of his saving mission to men … The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthly pilgrimage and protect every human being.”

Stop and consider what the Church is telling us: Angels have an extraordinarily close relationship with Jesus, they assist in our salvation and each one of us benefits from their protection! They know Jesus as we long to know him. They understand heaven and want everyone to be there someday. They care about our well-being and work to preserve it. These are not some meaningless, boring, detached spirit-babies, but awesome creations of the Father who matter in history, who care for us and who work for the glory of God.

So please don’t consider angels to be some nice story we tell children to help them fall asleep freed from the monsters under the bed. No, angels are a remarkable gift to us, a model for obedience to God, a companion throughout each moment of our lives and a friend eagerly waiting to experience the joy of salvation with us. Don’t sell angels short; let’s boldly ask their intercession even if they don’t miraculously help a baseball team start winning.

Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He has a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker on evangelization and discipleship.

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