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The Angels in Sacred Scripture (Side 1)

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

MP3 Disc 4 Received from Breslin

These Sermons were taped by Daniel Peper who
traveled and taped Fr. Hardon from 1990 to 1995

MP3 Audio of this Sermon - (30:39)

Prayer for the soul of Cardinal Bernardin

I was with him at a meeting this past Thursday night, the night before the announcement was made, and we know each other well, so let’s say a prayer for Cardinal Bernardin.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Mary, Mother of the Church.

Pray for us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Mother Angelica’s outspoken half hour television talk

Then one more item to distribute. Remember, I said that two weeks ago I was with Mother Angelica in Alabama after her outspoken half hour talk and it was well received by thousands of people, and members of the hierarchy protested very strongly. In any case, again one to each person and thanks to the Benedictine Sisters…they made copies of Mother Angelica’s recommendations…she calls it “Ways and Means of Defending Our Faith”.

And then the fourteen some Catholic organizations that are backing her.

I don’t believe anyone who knows what is going on in our country has any doubt that the Catholic Church in America is in a grave, comma, very grave crisis.

Read this and ask the Spirit inspires you to use this. Also, Mother Angelica gave me a copy of the tape. You’d think I was being paid for this…the twenty five minutes that she gave on television. If anyone would want to make copies of the tape, you are welcome to do so. In any case, say after class, somebody wants to make copies and somebody would want to and could really use copies, you’re welcome. So this is a good professional copy of the talk that she gave in Birmingham, Alabama.

Then one more: Our scheduled class for the next time was November 21st. We’re having no class on November 21st. So no class on next Sunday. Our next class, however, not on your schedule now, will be on Sunday, December 5th. So our next class in these two courses will be at the same place, same time…on December 5th…next Sunday.

Cardinal Sanchez’s visit to the U.S. to promote Catechism of the Catholic Church

Cardinal Sanchez is coming in from Rome on Thursday. I’ll be on a program with him in Louisville, Kentucky. On Saturday, then, he is going to Birmingham, Alabama. I’ll be with him. And pray that our meeting goes well, because what the Cardinal is coming to the United States for is to promote the Catechism. But now, if it is God’s will, to tie in the promotion of the Catechism with Mother Angelica’s thirty-eight million television outlet in our country and her shortwave outlet in fifty countries. We have spent all day Sunday, Saturday evening, and Sunday negotiating with Cardinal Sanchez on how, how some kind of an agreement can be reached between the Holy See and Mother Angelica to promote the promotion of the Catholic Catechism in our country and in many other countries in the world. So I will not be here next Sunday. I will be in Alabama. Our next class, once more, is on Sunday, December 5th.

The Angels in Sacred Scripture: What is matter and spirit?

Our present class, therefore, comes in two parts, The Angels in Sacred Scripture. And the two main parts: The Angels in the Old Testament and the Angels in the New. And then, as we have been doing, drawing implications for our spiritual life from our faith in the angelic powers.

As you can see, there’s a great deal of research has gone into your two pages identifying the biblical reference for each section dealing with the angels. What I’ll do, therefore, in a little over an hour that we have for this course, but then I want to take all the time I can for our next course. I thought we should have one class on marriage annulments; the Church’s teaching. And we’ll use all the time we can. If necessary we can stop the second class to provide time for questions and then continue on December 5th.

For the newcomers our classes have been regularly, the first class on the Scriptures…either on the Scriptures in general or, as today, on the angels in Sacred Scriptures. And the second class, barring exceptions, is on some aspect of marriage.

I will try not to read anymore than I have to, because the xerox came out very dark and clear.

It is well to remind ourselves what the very word angel means. From the Greek angelos, the Latin angelus, it means a messenger. As St. Augustine says, the name of the angel identifies his service, but the nature of the angel is not expressed in his name. By nature the angels are created pure spirits. Three words we use to identify the angels: created, pure, spirits.

Why created? Because unlike God, they were made by God; they were created. And they are pure spirits because they have no body.

It is well in context to understand what a spirit is. We should know what matter is. All reality is either matter or spirit. What is matter? Matter is quantified reality. What is, we ask, quantity? Whatever has size, weight, measure, extension in space. Whatever can be measured is matter. And the general theological term is quantified matter; is quantified reality.

Another definition of matter: Matter is sensibly perceptible reality. Matter is sensibly perceptible reality. What then is matter? That which the senses, whether the senses of a human being or the senses of any living being, can perceive. Animals perceive matter. Animals cannot perceive spirit. Whatever that which is sensibly perceptible is matter.

So the two standard theological definitions of matter: Matter is quantified reality and matter is sensibly perceptible reality.

I can see something. I can hear it. I can touch it. And notice I may not be able to touch what I see or what I hear. Sound is matter even though sound as sound I may not be able to touch.

I think these definitions of matter are at least useful to understand what the spirits are not.

The angels, therefore, are pure spirits and therefore, negatively in contrast with matter.

Spirits are non-quantified reality. A spirit has only qualities. It has no quantity.

Again, a spirit, qua spirit is not sensibly perceptible. Now the angels, the archangel appearing to Our Lady, he took on visible, audible form. Or remember Raphael in the Book of Tobias. Remember, he took on sensibly, perceptible form. Or the angel appearing, remember, to the children of Fatima. Same thing; took on sensibly, perceptible form. And we can say those are temporary forms that a spirit can take on. But a spirit, qua spirit, is not either quantified or sensibly perceptible.

So then what is a spirit? They are, first to distinguish from being not quantified. A spirit is, we can coin a strange word, a qualified reality. Every reality has only qualities; it does not have quantity. And in contrast with the spirit not being sensibly perceptible, the spirit can be perceived only by the mind. Only the mind can perceive a spirit. And that is why over the years I’ve been telling people, for me the greatest joy on earth, always, of course, the single greatest joy is the time I spend before the Blessed Sacrament; my greatest joy on earth. And I mean every syllable.

When in my dealing with human beings the greatest joy on earth is spirit communicating with spirit; one human being communicating with another human being. Oh, we’ve got to make strange sounds called words. Someone who does not know English, well, thinks we are using nonsense syllables. Like the lady who visited me the other day. Her name is Judith Ng. And the last name is spelt Ng, pronounced ‘ing’. So when we met I asked her, “Judith, where are you from?”

“Oh, I’m an American.”

But she speaks fluent Chinese.

I repeat, the greatest joy on earth for human beings is one human spirit communicating with another spirit. And, being human beings, we’ve got to use, well, sensibly perceptible words, sounds; strange, queer sounds. People who don’t know English, tell me the English language is the most, I’m quoting, “the most unmelodious language they’ve ever heard.” Makes no sense. Right?

It is spirit communicating with spirit, which I am trying to do here. My spirit communicating with your spirits…plural. A spirit can be perceived only by the mind, and not by the senses.

Though, you might say, are negative, not so much definitions, as descriptions of a spirit; in this case the created spirits of the angels. But, positively speaking, what are the angels?

The angels are created spirits who can think, and can love. The essence of a person is, first of all, to be an individual. Even in God there are three individuals. The angels, therefore, are intelligent, loving individuals.

The heart, therefore, of being an angel is not that an angel is not quantified, nor that an angel cannot be perceived by the senses. The essence of an angel created is that an angel can think, and therefore know, and can love. And each angel is an individual.

We define a person as an individual, intelligent being. In God there are three, individual, intelligent beings. That’s what a person is. The angels, however, are created. Each angel is a person. And when, after having contracted with Double Day for the Modern Catholic Dictionary…over half a million words; the publisher took almost six months to review the manuscript. I was sure it was going to be published because I had a contract. I never publish without a contract before hand or text the author.

After six months I got a long document from Double Day to change over two thousand words. Double Day submitted this to feminist editors. Many things&133;oh how delightful. One reason, I am sure I have told people, I was brought up in a household of women. Mother was widowed when I was a year old. She took in women boarders. To the age of sixteen, I lived among women. I told husbands, I know women better than you do.

Among the changes that these feminist editors made when I had that God is a creator of angels and persons. Pardon me; I had “angels and men”. They changed it to “angels and persons”. Soon let loose on how stupid those feminist editors were to impress them with their stupidity. Angels are persons. Their number, only God knows.

Several Fathers of the Church teach that after the angels fell that God decided to create as many human beings as there had been fallen angels. The number is myriad; countless, and they are each individual persons.

Now just to go over your chart: In the Old Testament, what are the two principal roles of the angels? And here, you notice, we are concentrating on the good angels.

I do have classes in demonology. I have courses on the demons, on devils and very unlikely and should be known. But our concentration is rather, as we call them, the good angels; first messengers of God in numberless ways. Thus to illustrate: An angel prevents Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac. An angel appears to Moses in the burning bush; appears to Elijah; leads Israel through the Red Sea; slays the Assyrians; helps Tobit and his son.

In fact, what is the first appearance of the angels in Scriptures? Please? In the Garden of Eden a fallen angel seduces Eve and how our first parents led out of paradise.

And secondly, the angels are adorers. This is one of the main themes of the Psalms; the angels are constantly adoring God. They form what they call the heavenly retinue. They serve and praise God. And over the years, and as especially St. Thomas, as you know, the chosen theologian of the Church. All theology the Church teaches should conform to the teaching of St. Thomas. It is St. Thomas, sometimes called the angelic doctor, mainly because he has written so much; tens of thousands of words about the angels. Says Thomas: Our main duty in life is to imitate the angels in their two-fold role of adoring God and serving others.

And how are we to serve others? Hear it. We are to be angels to others. Meaning what? Bringing the message of God to others. And not just by what we say or what we write, but especially how we live; how we behave. Imitating the angels, therefore, is the most fundamental duty of us human beings.

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

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