WEDNESDAY     February 23, 2000    vol. 11, no. 38    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 117 - Angels
  • Events that occurred this day in Church History
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • Medjugorje Monthly Message for January
  • Be an angel! Help the DailyCATHOLIC financially by donating to help us reach more souls!


  • Appreciation of the Angels

        Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith, presenting a brief catechesis, outlined in My Catholic Faith, on Angels. For the 116th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 116: Angels

          Whoever we are, wherever we are, each of us has always a guardian angel at our side. He sees everything we do: both good and evil. We should always be very careful not to offend or hurt him. We should often thank him for his love and care. We should ask him to intercede with God for us in our necessities. We should pray to him often, especially in temptation or danger.

          The chief creatures of God are angels and men. God created angels and men for His own external glory. Their creation was a reflection of His wisdom and greatness. By reason alone we cannot know that angels exist. However, reason indicates that in the orderly sequence of creatures from the lowest to the highest, there would be a greater gap between man and God, did not the angels exist.

          God created angels and men for their good and happiness. They find their happiness in their union with God. God did not create angels or men for His own happiness; He is perfectly happy in Himself alone. Angels are created spirits, without bodies, having understanding and free will. Angels are spiritual beings superior to man and inferior to God; this is of faith. We do not know the number of angels, but we can infer from Holy Scripture that their number is very great.

          Before the creation of man, God created hosts of angels. They are pure spirits, without bodies, in contrast to men, who have both body and spirit. When angels or devils appear to men, they assume human form or some other visible shape. Thus the angels that appeared to the Blessed Virgin and to Zachary assumed human form. The devil that tempted Eve appeared as a serpent.

          Even demons are pure spirits. They were angels before they became devils. Even the devils do service to God, since God always turns the attacks of the devil to show forth more brightly His own glory. When God created the angels He bestowed on them great wisdom, power, and holiness.

          Angels are the most excellent beings created by God. They are nobler in nature than men. They know more, and have greater power. Of all God's creatures, angels resemble Him most. We can imply the knowledge of the angels from the words of Our Lord: "But of that day (the day of Judgment) and hour no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven, but the Father only" (Matthew 24:36). The power of angels was shown in Egypt when one destroyed all the first born of the Egyptians; another angel destroyed the hosts of the Assyrian King, for blaspheming God.

          The angels were not created equal. They rank according to the amount of gifts given, and the work assigned to them. In the Bible, nine choirs of angels are mentioned: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. Not all the angels remained faithful to God; some of them sinned.

          God gave free will to the angels, as He did to men. He put them to a test, in order to make them earn the happiness of Heaven. We do not know the exact nature of the test which God gave the angels.

          In this trial,many angels, using their free will, refused to submit themselves to God; for this serious sin they were punished. "For God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but dragged them down by infernal ropes" (2 Peter 2:4). Wherever the devils were later permitted to go, they had in a way their hell with them, for they were forever deprived of the love of God. The angels who remained faithful to God entered into the eternal happiness of Heaven, and these are called good angels. "See that you do no despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in Heaven always behold the face of My Father" (Matthew 18:10).

          The good angels behold the face of God continually, praise and glorify Him, and are perfectly happy in His presence. Angels are commonly represented with wings to show the speed with which they pass from place to place. They are also shown as small children to show their innocence and perpetual youth. They have harps, to indicate their perpetual prise of God, and lilies, to symbolize their perfect purity.

          When we say that the angels were in Heaven before their test, we do not mean that they saw God. They were very happy where God had placed them, but they did not see God until they had been proved. The good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels. Again we repeat what Our Lord Himself said of little children: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in Heaven always behold the face of My Father in Heaven" (Matthew 18-10).

          The good angels are God's messengers, and often reveal God's will to man. The angel Raphael accompanied Tobias on his journey. The angel Gabriel was sent to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunication. Angels appeared to the shepherds at the Nativity. An angel was sent to Saint Joseph after the departure of the Magi, and after the death of Herod. Angels appeared to the women at Christ's sepulchre, and to Mary Magdalen.

      Guardian Angels

          Certain angels have special charge of nations, communities, churches, etc. Our Lord Himself several times spoke of angels, especially the guardian angels. Our guardian angels help us by praying for us, by protecting us from harm, and by inspiring us to do good.

          Our guardian angels are given special care of us, watching over each from birth to death. We should always love and pray to our Guardian Angel who never leaves our side. The Church celebrates the feast of the Guardian Angels on October 2.

          Our guardian angels put good thoughts into our minds, moving our will to what is good. They protect us in dangers of soul and body. They offer our prayers and good works to God. They pray for us. They help us in our work and needs. "He hath given his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways" (Psalms 90:11). For instance, angels kept Daniel safe in the lions' den, and the three young men in the fiery furnace. We often hear of little children meeting with accidents and escaping unhurt. But the chief work of our guardian angels is to keep us safe from the devil.

      Tomorrow: The Bad Angels: Devils

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    Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

      On this date 553 years ago in 1447 A.D. Pope Eugene IV passed on to his Heavenly reward after a sixteen year pontificate. He is best remembered for calling the 17th Ecumenical Council in 1431 during the first year of his pontificate. The council would last four years and be moved to three other venues for safety sake because of threats by conciliarists that an ecumenical council's decisions were superior to the Roman Pontiff. But the Council finally decreed that the Pope took preference over the council. During the same Council that began in Basle, moved to Ferrara and finished up in Florence. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for February 15:

    • 156 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr. See DAILY LITURGY.

    • 303 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Serenus, hermit from Yugoslavia who is known as the "Gardener" for his carden of fruits, flowers and herbs on which he lived and preached to others how a garden is like life and they we must cultivate virtue and weed out vice. He was beheaded during the persecution of the Roman emperor Maximium in Sirmium, Yugoslavia which today is just west of Romania.

    • 867 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Lazarus, a Constantinople monk who was an artisan and restored the sacred images destroyed by iconoclasts during the reign of Theophilus who was incensed that he could restore these icons so quickly. Even though the emperor tried to torture him, he was able to evade further persecution and became an ambassador to Rome.

    • 1011 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Willigis, Archbishop of Mainz and Imperial Chancellor to the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II. Acting for the Pope, Willigis also crowned Otto's son Otto III after the death of the former. When Otto III died at an early age in 1002, despite rival factions and discord, Willigis was able to crown Saint Henry II along with his wife Saint Cunegund. Willigis is the patron saint of wheelmakers and carriage horsemen.

    • 1417 A.D.
    • Birth of Pietro Barbo in Venice, Italy. After becoming a cardinal-deacon at the unusually young age of 23, he would go on to be elected the 211th successor of Peter on August 30, 1464 at 47 years-old, taking the name Pope Paul II. He decreed that only cardinals could wear the red beretta. In addition he reduced the interval between Holy Years from 50 to 25 years in order that more could benefit from the special pardons available during these Holy Years or Jubilees. After a seven year pontificate he would die on July 26, 1471 from a stroke.

    • 1447 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Eugene IV, 207th successor of Peter. His 16 year pontificate was highlighted by his convening the 17th Ecumenical Council at Basel. However, out of fear it was transferred to Ferrara and then Florence where it was called the Council of Florence and where the council decided once and for all that the Pope was superior to a Council which resulted in the the election of the antipope Felix V by those who were not willing to go along with Eugene and the Council mandates.

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    We reap what we sow!

       They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

    "If we start with the belief that most people in the world are crooks, it is amazing how many crooks we find. If, however, we go into the world with the assumption that everyone is nice, we are constantly running into nice people. To a great extent the world is what we make it. We get back what we give. If we sow hate, we reap hate; if we scatter love and gentleness we harvest love and happiness. "

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    DAILY LITURGY

       Today is the Feast of the Bishop and Martyr Saint Polycarp while tomorrow is the Seventh Thursday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile on St. Polycarp, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2000

        First Reading: James 4: 13-17
        Responsorial: Psalm 49: 2-3, 6-11
        Gospel Reading: Mark 9: 38-40

    Feast of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

          Consecrated bishop of Smyrna by Saint John the Apostle, the holy Saint Polycarp staunchly defended the faith in the face of heresy, particularly Valentinianism and Marcionism. Born around 69 A.D. he dedicated his life to upholding the new Christian faith and preaching everywhere he went. Towards the end of his life when he was in his eighties, he traveled to Rome during the papacy of Pope Anicetus, the eleventh in the line of Peter. There Pope and bishop discussed a mutual date for Easter but could not come to an agreement and parted ways deciding each should celebrate it the way they had been doing it. Before he left Rome Polycarp was captured by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and thrown into prison. Refusing to sacrifice to the gods, acknowledge the divinity of Aurelius and reject his faith, Polycarp was ordered to be burned at the stake. But as they flames seared up and around him, they miraculously did not touch him. Furious, the Emperor ordered the soldiers to spear him to death. There in Rome on February 23, he gave up the ghost. Historians gage his death anywhere between 155 and 165, because of his association with Anicetus who was pontiff during those years. Many regard Polycarp as the chief link between the apostolic age, when he knew some of the apostles such as John, to the age of the great Christian Writers in Roman Asia which evolved late in the second century. They consider his Martyrium Polycarpi the first and oldest authentic example of the Acts of the Martyrs.

    Thursday, February 24, 2000

        First Reading: James 5: 1-6
        Responsorial: Psalm 49: 14-20
        Gospel Reading: Mark 9: 41-50

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    The DAILY WORD

    "For he who is not against you is for you. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you are Christ's, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."

    Mark 9: 39-40

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    Be an angel!

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    January 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

      "Dear children! I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    February 23, 2000     volume 11, no. 38
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