Monday, 16 June 2008

Angels and Fallen Angels

A sermon from a while ago has been going round in my head, and whilst I can't remember it verbatim the logic behind it sends me round and round in circles.

Only God is omnipotent. The angels are not omnipotent. They are spirit that can manifest themselves in a form more recognisable to humans when they need to. Because they are not omnipotent, they can't be in two places at once. Likewise, Satan the fallen angel is not omnipotent, this would make him more powerful than the angels, which he isn't, so he can only be troubling one person at a time.

Whilst the sermon was about St Michael, at this point, you can probably guess what I was thinking. Well, phew, I'm only a small, insignificant cog in the machinery, the chances of Satan being bothered with me are small. He'll be with the big, important guys. If I'm really unlucky, one of his minions might start whispering in my ears...the big ugly fella isn't going to be bothered with me.

Hang on though, does this then mean that the angels and saints can only deal with one prayer request at a time (please hold, your prayer is in a queue and will be dealt with as soon as possible, your prayers are important to us...)? Quick, find some obscure saint with a little more of eternity on his hands than the really busy, popular ones, your bound to have success with them!!

No, this is rubbish! The saints must be able to deal with multiple prayer requests, they can and do spend quality time with us, when we need them, but not at the expense of any other needy soul. Everything is possible because of the boundless love of our Creator.

Now is Satan as powerful as ever? I'd say so. Then where is he getting his power from? He is not getting it from God. Satan is indeed weak if he can only influence one person at a time. In his wrath, hatred and spite for the beautiful, innocent, chaste St Gemma Galgani, as he dealt severe blows upon her body and mind, was the rest of the world at that time not then safe from his influence? That has to be wrong. Satan must be able to do more than one piece of harm at a time. Yes, but where is his power coming from????

Terrifyingly, the answer has to be, his power comes from us? If we deny God and set ourselves up to be like gods then we are doing his work for him, we are making him stronger. Also if we deny Satan's existence similar things will happen. His most successful traits are apathy and sloth, he's more than happy for us to work for him without his even having to try. I can see him enjoying making himself into human form and going to parties in rural Oxfordshire at some grand, but private house. Unable to enjoy the sensual pleasures God gave us humans, but deriving great pleasure from watching humans debase these pleasures through selfish lusts, greed and desire. That is what makes him stronger. Then the endless conversations he will get involved in, the intellectual chattering classes and moral ambiguity of intelligent people justifying their godlessness and "humanity" without God. This doesn't just have to be with the policy makers and people of the media, it can happen in school staffrooms and works canteens too.

Are we active enough in our Faith to combat his activities and persuasions? Are we ready for the wrath and severe temptations he inflicts on those who are on the path to holiness. Are we willing enough to curb our tongues and minds to prevent even a whiff of slander being added to the world and increasing his power even slightly.

Hmmm, sobering stuff. Have I taken a wrong turn somewhere with this line of thought? Where did the giver of the sermon get his ideas from? Are those ideas wrong in the first place?

All glory be to God!
St Michael pray for us!


Mac McLernon said...

Each of us has our own personal Guardian Angel, who is with us every single minute, and whose responsibility we are.

There are plenty of fallen angels to go round.

But the most important thing to note is that once we are dead (so presumably it's the same for angels and devils too) there is no such thing as time, or rather, all time is present.

Which is why we won't spend eternity looking at our watches wondering what's going to happen next...

Rita said...


I agree with you, sort of. Heaven won't be boring, but how can there be "rejoicing in heaven" with the saving of souls, if there isn't some experience of linear time and certainly some ability to follow the time bound existence of the souls on earth?

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I was listening to Catholic Radio- Catholic Answers or Relevent Radio-can't remember...anyway this very subject came up. The answer was that Satan was able to be in more than one place at a time because his nature is spirit-but that he is limited in power; can't read our thoughts etc.
Our guardian angel has similar powers but tend to be more powerful because they are with God.
He didn't say this but I would think of it as the angels of God are fueled with God's love-something demons don't have.

I've been thinking for a while that evil is essentially boring because of its sameness. Spiteful people say and do the same kind of things.
Big evil doers like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin etc are all so boringly similar.
This sameness seems to me to be a lack of Satan's power.
I therefore agree with you that his main power comes from how much we collude with and enable him.
Like substance abusers needing enablers to keep them on the wrong track.

Not sure how time works in the next life-but I have thought it must have some kind of existence because in the end we get a resurected body which is material-so wont we have time to experience our material resurection? Dunno.
Anyway, interesting post Rita.
God bless

Irene said...

"...all time is present." That's the best way of expressing it succinctly that I've ever encountered. I plan to honor you by plagerizing it.

In a way, it is a sort of trade-off: time, or eternity, but not both.

James M said...

Hi Rita...sorry this is off topic...but following from your comment elsewhere:

Psalm 74:

Come up to these endless ruins! The enemy have sacked everything in the sanctuary;

...they set fire to your sanctuary, profanely rased to the ground the dwelling place of your name.

They said to themselves, Let us crush them at one stroke! They burned down every sacred shrine in the land.

We see no signs, no prophet any more, and none of us knows how long it will last.

Rita said...

Thanks James,

I'm grateful however the psalm does have a more positive note towards the end!

"Let not the humble be turned away in confusion:
The poor and needy shall praise thy name."

The tide is turning. I do however feel quite strongly we must remain in our local parishes (no matter how far from Fr Z's say the black, do the red they may be)and not go each week seeking the orthodox liturgy that we love. Ultimately this is the only way things will change otherwise we will have a polarised church and that has to be unacceptable in God's eyes.

Tom in Vegas said...

"The angels are not omnipotent."

The above statement makes no sense to me either. It's probably as irrational as a post written by one member of clergy in which he stated that Jesus was "more physical" when he ascended to Heaven than he was while on earth (I think he meant to say more real).

A while back I was watching a documentary about a Trappist monk who had passed away some years ago, and his brother monks were recalling his life and times. One of the monks explained that because the (deceased) monk was in God, and God was in us, that there brother monk was now in them, too. I found this to be quite beautiful and mystical in nature, and I think germane to the misleading sermon you quote from.

Rita said...

Thanks Tom,

I think I'm happy now to say that the sermon was misleading even if it was very well intentioned.

James M said...


1) I reckon the sermon was seriously misguided. Satan attacks every single one of us with the maximum fury at every given moment that God will allow him to vent. The significance of this is that it does not matter what we do, there is no way we can make Satan go any easier on us (he hates us) and by the same token there is nothing we can do to incur his greater wrath. Therefore we should not think that by doing evil we can appease him or fear that by doing good he will target us all the more.

The reason for this is that Satan has no power over us whatsoever except what God allows...and He only allows it for the good (always).

But it also means that Satan is working on every single one of us all the time, desperate to gain a bridgehead in our soul. Fortunately he is no match for our guardian angels if we pray for their help.

Well...this is what I have gleaned from them that speak sense.

2) For the TLM, I heartily agree that going searching for Masses we 'like' is corrosive...we are placed in our local parish for a reason. But when I am on the road, for whatever reason, I hunt out TLMs. I cannot get them at home, but when I travel then they are the first choice. Sorry for being defensive ;-)

3) Who's that girl in the painting on your blog! The "Woman with Ferret"? I saw that picture in a restaurant in Avila, Spain...and photographed it and love the picture. But I could never find out who painted it or when. The restaurant is great: its called "The Catholic Kings" and the road it is on is called "The Catholic Kings" (Reyes Catolicos).

Sierva de Dios, Isabel la Catolica, ruega por nosotros.

(How is that for rambling?)