What Does the Church Teach About Angels?
Angel Michael, Angel Gabriel, Angel Raphael
The Book of Judges repeatedly speaks Of angels being sent by God to his people (see, for example, 2:1-5). Are we to understand these and similar biblical accounts as references to real supernatural beings, Or simply as accounts of visions?
Both Scripture and Tradition repeatedly affirm that God has in fact created non- human, angelic beings to be his agents, warriors, and messengers. They are personal and immortal; they have a rational intellect and free will, yet they are pure spirits, without bodies like ours. (See the scriptural references below.) They surpass in perfection all visible creatures, as is evident from their splendor (see Ps 103:20-21 ). Nevertheless, redeemed human beings will one day be per- fected in such a way that the angels will be subject to them (see 1 Cor 6:3).
Angels have been present since creation, and they have played critical roles in salvation history, from the fall of man to the present. ln various ways they carried out the divine plan for the ancient descendants of Abraham. When God became man in Jesus Christ, they surrounded and served him throughout his earthly life, from his conception up to the very moment of his ascension into heaven. They will also announce his return to earth at the end of time and will serve him as he judges the earth.
Meanwhile, angels are "ministering spirits, sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation" (Heb 1:14). They join the Church in her worship and ministry; they serve us as guardians, intercessors, and guides. With the saints in heaven they behold the face of God and enjoy the eternal life of the Blessed Trinity.
Finally, Scripture speaks of various angelic hierarchies and provides the names of three particular angels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.