Sermon for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost – October 2, 2011 by Msgr. Perez
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I just want to say a few words. You know, Protestants have a lot of stupid bumper stickers, and one of them is “Jesus Is My Best Friend”. Now, this sounds very, Oh, yes, isn’t that sweet? Isn’t that nice? But first of all, think about your best friend in a sense. Your best friend didn’t create you in the first place, and is not going to be your judge, in the second place. Your best friend is going to be somebody who is with you, who supports you, who helps you, who gives you advice when you need it, who leads you if you have to be led in a particular direction, but who mainly is with you when you need your best friend there. So, your best friend is not really Jesus, as their bumper sticker says.
They also have bumper stickers that say, Got Jesus? And it’s ironic because they are the very ones who don’t. (Monsignor laughing) They should sell bumper stickers that just say No and put it right after that one. In any case, your best friend, though, it’s interesting, your real best friend is older and wiser and more powerful then you are by far, created at the dawn of creation. Our Lord created your best friend with you in mind and your best friend is really your guardian angel, because who is more faithful to you, who is by your side, who protects you, who advises you, who leads you? That’s your guardian angel, and that’s your real best friend.
But, you know what? We often think fondly of what we call our earthly best friend, you know, your old buddy, your old girl friend, this kind of thing, that you consider your earthly best friend. And we think of them fondly and we wonder what they are doing, this kind of thing, call them up at least from time to time. But how often do we do that with our real best friend that God has given us to be our best friend. That is the guardian angel.
And what about guardian angels? Why should we appreciate them? Let’s think about what angels are for a moment. First of all, they were the first born of creation. God created the angels first. And like Adam would be given later on, the angels were given a test. They were so beautiful and so powerful and they are pure spirits. They don’t have bodies. You know, they are depicted as having wings because that’s an artistic way of talking about angelic motion. An angel can go from one place to another without going through the middle place. That’s what they call angelic motion, which we’ll have in heaven, by the way. If you want to go someplace in heaven, like if you want to go from Lourdes to Fatima, or something like that, you don’t have to walk or take a bus or an airplane. You just will it and you will be from Lourdes to Fatima or Mars or Alpha Centauri or whatever it is you want to visit at the time.
So, they move with angelic motion and that’s represented by wings, but they have no bodies, they have no body parts. They are spiritual so they are not like us. We are soul and body. Our souls are spirit, but an angel is a pure spirit. And so they are immensely beautiful and intelligent and powerful. And they were created in nine different divisions. You know, it is a reflection, a reflection of the Trinity, of course. You find these numbers appear again and again in creation, and they are created in, starting from the bottom up, we know the names of these choirs. There are nine choirs in what we call three hierarchies. Each hierarchy has three choirs in it. Going from the bottom, we have Angels, Archangels, Principalities and Powers, Virtues and Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim, the highest being the Seraphim.
Now, the word angel itself means one who is sent. So they are named after their mission.. In the case of your guardian angel, our guardian angels, they are sent for us. They don’t usually get reemployed. There is one guardian angel per person and, of course, there are billions of people so there are billions of guardian angels more than likely. And they stay with us throughout life. In fact, if we go to heaven, they stay with us throughout eternity at our side in heaven, praising God together with us.
They are made in these nine choirs and the ones who come to human beings generally are the lower ones like angels and archangels. Now, just a little caution here. It says in scripture, for example, that Gabriel and Michael are archangels. That’s not the choir they are from. That’s just a description of them. They are more than likely Seraphim, according to the scripture scholars and the theologians. What’s the difference? Well, every angel is what they call sui generis in Latin. It doesn’t mean they are generous, it’s generis. It means it’s its’ own species. You know, on earth we have people and we have dolphins and we have slugs and termites and all these happy little creatures living together, and they are all different species. Well, each individual angel, even though there are billions of them, is its’ own species. One angel is as different from the next angel as a human being is from a termite. That’s one of the miracles of the angels. And they were given this task, as I was saying, and regardless of their beauty and intelligence, some of them chose to rebel against God. Now, what was the test? St. Thomas Aquinas and others speculate, it’s only speculation, but you can well imagine that it might be true, that they were given a vision of the Incarnation of Our Lord, of God taking on human flesh, and they were told, You have to worship the Son of God become Incarnate. And some of them said, Wait, I am so beautiful and so powerful, and those humans are so puny and smelly, and you want me to worship — what kind of God are You that’s going to become one of these things. And they said, No, I’m not going to serve, I’m not going to worship that. When You do that, no, I’m not going along with it. Well, those are now the devils, Satan and his minions. For that they were cast out of heaven by St. Michael and his army and into a place called hell where they remain and will remain for eternity.
People often ask me, Well, if they were made pure and beautiful and intelligent, how could they ever throw that away and not worship the Incarnation or not pass the test? What a lot of people don’t know is the fact that what the good angels got for their obedience in siding in with God was the Beatific Vision. They didn’t have it before. They weren’t created given the Beatific Vision. They couldn’t see God as He was or — once you see God as He is, you couldn’t turn away from that. So they were not allowed from the moment of creation to see God as He was. There was the test first. Many of them failed and the master failure we know now as Satan, the adversary. He used to be Lucifer, the bearer of light, the most beautiful and intelligent and powerful of all the angels. He was the very highest of the Seraphim, but he lacked one thing. He didn’t have the humility. He looked at himself and said how beautiful and how powerful I am, I want to be God. I’m not going to serve. I want to be God, and so, in spite of his intelligence and beauty and power, he became disfigured and condemned to hell.
Anyway, of the good ones, one of them was chosen for each one of us and is with us from the first moment that we exist. And that guardian angel we have to acknowledge, especially on this day of the feast of the guardian angels. That’s what it is today. We have to think about our guardian angel, and not just one day a year. We have to say, You know what? I don’t think about my guardian angel enough. And today is a good day to start doing it.
Now, we all have wonderful guardian angels or we wouldn’t be here. But it’s largely a thankless job, isn’t it, you know, to be ignored and just presumed upon all the time. And so we are going to try to change that by acknowledging our angels in various areas of life. As I said, that guardian angel accompanies us everywhere. It is the voice of our conscience. You know, we pray and we offer the Holy Mass, we offer our prayers individually, an angel takes those prayers in their hands, so to speak, and presents them before the throne of the Most High, and then what response we get is borne by the angels back to us. We don’t go directly to God because in this state we can’t. We go through the intermediary angel and the response from God comes back through the intermediary. We pray in the Mass, if you look in the Canon of the Mass, we pray that His angel takes this sacrifice and presents it before the throne of the Most High. It’s in the Canon, read the Canon. And so it is with all our prayers and all our sacrifices and all our actions.
So we have to remember, then, that is one of his jobs, besides looking after us, protecting us, warding off Satan. But we have to be worthy of that. And he has to see that we are trying our best and he will gain the grace to defend us against the various attacks. The prayer to St. Michael, for example, gets the intercession of St. Michael, together with our guardian angel. So, I said they are from the lower angels, most of us have one, it is speculated that when you get ordained you get another one, and it is speculated that the Pope has many guardian angels. Every country has a guardian angel. Okay? Our country is messed up at the moment, to put it mildly. We have a rotten president, we have rotten politicians, all politicians are rotten anyway. I guess that goes without saying, but something not good is definitely happening. Well, voting is good, of course. I’m not saying don’t vote. But, you know what? Pray to the guardian angel of the United States to do something about this. We have a guardian angel. This country has a guardian angel whose job it is to lead this country towards God. I’ll bet you everybody praying to the guardian angel of the United States is in this church at this moment. I guarantee you almost. My guardian angel is probably going, Well, wait, there’s that one person in Toad Suck, Arkansas who is praying to the guardian angel. (Monsignor laughing) Okay, call me a liar for one person in Toad Suck, Arkansas. But, for the most part, people haven’t been taught to do that. They don’t think of doing that. We need to inundate our national guardian angel to help us out of this mess. That’s his job. That’s why he was created and uniquely assigned to our country.
Remember, a year before Our Lady appeared to the shepherd children in Fatima, an angel was sent and at one point they said, I am the angel of Portugal. That was the guardian angel of that country. But we have one, too, and we have our own. And during our lives and every day at every juncture we need to say, Guardian angel, thank you. I acknowledge your presence. I acknowledge your help to me. I acknowledge your ceaseless, sleepless work on my behalf before the throne of the Most High. I thank you for that. When you need something, Guardian angel, I need you, I need you now, get over here. (Monsignor laughing) Please! And those kinds of occasions, things you might not think of. Okay, so I have a guardian angel, that person over there has a guardian angel, we know this. Right? Well, how many times do I get, Well, Father, I have this interview for this job and I’m really worried because I’m unemployed. I really need this job, God knows I need this job, pray for me. And, of course, I do. I pray for people all the time. But one thing you can do, too, is go, Guardian angel, that person who is interviewing me for this job, you go talk to their guardian angel for me and dispose them that if it be the will of God, to accept me for this position. And you will find that a lot of things will open up for you, then. And it doesn’t have to be just a job. Guardian angel, help me to study for this exam so I can lead a good Christian life in the future or whatever, bring me enlightenment from the Holy Ghost to enlighten my intellect for my studies. There are endless times that you should be calling upon guardian angels and you’ll have to just think about it to see the opportunities.
Remember, everything that you pray for is mediated by an angel, usually your own angel. And, as I said, it is not even until death do us part, because in eternity your guardian angel will be at your side, enjoying the Beatific Vision with his little pet project that was you as his unique assignment. We cannot even imagine what that does to our experience of eternity. Imagine being able to see in an instant everything that this angel did for you during your whole existence on earth and being able to see that in the person of your angel, and being able to see your angel and experience your success, as it were, your blessedness with your best friend.
So, my dear faithful, today we remember our best friend. You know, we have Grandmother’s Day, we have Mother’s Day, we have Father’s Day, we’re probably heading towards a time when we have Father’s and Father’s Day, and this kind of thing, but we should have Your Best Friend Day, and that is October 2, the Feast of the Most Holy Guardian Angels. We thank our guardian angels, we praise them and we ask them to keep on being at our side through all we need now until we reach safely eternity with them.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.