(In Honor of Our Invisible Friends)
I would like to recommend to all devout Catholics the reading of the book, The Nine Choirs of Angels, written by Father Henri Marie Boudon 1624-1702. Yet, knowing that there are many who have neither the time nor energy to read all of it, I have attempted to make a short summary of this great work for those who find long readings difficult and tiresome. I pray that it may touch the hearts of those who read it, and encourage everyone to have an endless devotion to all the holy angels!
THE FIRST HIERARCHY
Seraphim – The Seraphim are the princes of the angels, who excel in the pure love of God, and pass this love on to all the lower choirs of angels. They spend their time before the throne of God, enveloped in the burning fire of His love, and showering Him with praise, thanksgiving, and adoration. Since these angels are the heavenly princes of love, we ought to have a great devotion to them, and beseech them to help us increase our love for God and our neighbor.
Cherubim – The Cherubim are bright angels who are stunning reflections of the fullness of the light and the wisdom of God. Divine light imparts to them great knowledge of the mysteries of God and a holy radiance with which they are enveloped. They are doctors of the Faith and know best how to instruct us in the science of the Saints (humility, self-denial, and the restraint of one’s passions). It is they who impart this knowledge to the other hierarchies so that they may further assist us in the path of holiness. Let us nurture a boundless respect in our hearts for the Cherubim, and frequently seek their guidance in our lives.
Thrones – The Thrones are the glorious attendants of Our Lord and the carriers of the Throne of God. They rest upon the Heart of God and bear His Spirit wherever He ordains. They are the conveyors of peace, and it is through the intercession of these angels that mankind finds tranquility of soul. It is also in the presence of these great princes that God pronounces His decrees, judgments, and counsels. They then make God’s wishes known to the lower hierarchies of angels. Since it is through the intercession of the Thrones that mankind finds peace and knowledge of God’s will, we should often implore their help in order to more surely follow the path of everlasting happiness.
THE SECOND HIERARCHY
Dominations – The Dominations are the mighty lieutenants of God who are informed of God’s plans by the holy Thrones and communicate thereafter His Holy Will to us. The devil likes to deceive, if possible, even the faithful, and these angels help us to avoid confusing our own will for the Will of God. If we truly love the Dominations and have a solid devotion to them, they in turn will help teach us to master ourselves and have a better understanding of the ordinances of the Most High.
Virtues – The Virtues are spirits whose duty it is to help sustain the faithful on the path of righteousness. They assist us in overcoming our selfish inclinations, and impart to us the strength to more diligently observe the commands of God. If we are fervent and constant in seeking the guidance of these masters of holy perfection, they will certainly help us to nurture all of the holy virtues within ourselves.
This choir of the angels also governs the seasons and the visible heavens. It is through the actions of the Virtues that God’s justice is satisfied against the unfaithful children of Adam. They do this by visiting mankind with floods, earthquakes, and other disasters which take place in nature. It is also primarily through the actions of the Virtues that God accomplishes miracles for mankind, preserving them from such catastrophes. As a result of this, we ought to constantly implore these holy angels for mercy for ourselves and our acquaintances, and invoke their aid during times of public calamity, epidemics, afflictions, and plagues.
Powers – The Powers are known for their ability to thwart the strategies of the devils in hell who oppose the execution of God’s orders. They help mankind in their struggles against the craftiness of the evil spirits, and defend us from the rage, power, and malice of the enemies of God. We should call upon the assistance of the Powers whenever there is turmoil within the Church, state, or country and when people are resisting the servants of God.
THE LAST HIERARCHY
Principalities – It is the sacred duty of the Principalities to communicate to the angels and archangels the commands of the Most High, since they are the leaders of the Last Hierarchy. They are given their orders from the Dominations, who receive them from the Thrones, who in turn receive their orders from God Himself. They also guard the welfare of those souls who govern kingdoms, states, and countries. Let us show great respect to these princely angels that they may be more inclined to diligently watch over the leaders of our nations, and inform our guardian angels and the archangels of God’s commands for us.
Archangels – The Archangels are principally responsible for the constant guard over all nations, empires, provinces, states, and countries. It is through their hands that our nations receive innumerable benefits. We should make a habit of praying to the archangels, so that they will help make our nations more worthy of the mercy of God.
Another duty of the archangels is to make known the Will of God to people in the more important moments of their life after being informed of His plans by the Principalities. An example of such would be a person’s vocation or calling in life. Hence, we should remember this choir of angels and pray to them for guidance whenever we need to make important life decisions.
Angels – The final choir of angels is primarily composed of guardian angels. They generally interact more with mankind that any other choir of angels. They constantly watch over each and every one of us in particular at all times with sublime love and care. They manifest the will of God to us in the ordinary matters of life and encourage us to make good choices throughout every day. Thus, we should pray to our guardian angels; imploring them to help us to grow and persevere in every virtue, especially those of which we are most in need.
The guardian angels play a bigger role in the welfare of mankind than almost anyone would give them credit. As the devils try to keep us from having good friendships, the angels try to keep us from having bad friendships. The guardian angels also watch over our friends out of love for us. Therefore, we should console the guardian angels of heretics, pagans and disbelievers who may be completely forgotten otherwise by mankind. We ought to honor the angels of our spiritual directors, benefactors, enemies, prelates of the Church, the Sovereign Pontiff, and temporal princes and pray to them to protect our loved ones. When people offend us, we should pray to our guardian angels to support us and when people are kind to us, we should thank their guardian angels. By doing these things, we will gain these holy spirits as our devoted friends and helpers and give glory to God for creating them.
It is worthy to take note of the fact that Churches and altars have their own guardian angels. Even dioceses, communities, and confraternities have spirits who watch over them. Whenever anything tragic is happening to a particular chapel or group, we should pray to that group or place’s guardian angel.
Many of the saints and other pious Catholic writers have claimed that the angels are more numerous than the stars in the sky. They also mention that these holy spirits have a number of tremendous powers, abilities, and strengths. Furthermore, despite the fact that the angels are great princes of heaven, they are constantly in the service of mankind for the greater glory and honor of God. Therefore, let us find ways to help us remember them more often and ask them for help whenever we are in need. This will bring us closer to them, to God, and to the eternal happiness of heaven.