Built into the perched position of guardian angels to our right resides our supposed personally assigned demon upon our left shoulder. We all know that demons must hide from angels. The block of my head isn’t a logical hiding place for a demon only ten inches from an angel’s capable visionary skills.
Angels aren’t afraid of demons or influenced inappropriately by their wiles. Leaving demons to do their dirty deeds, then, is something angels have to do.
Image by Welcome to All
By John Pearring
There are those angels again.
And he said to me,
“These words are trustworthy and true,
and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits,
sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.”
“Behold, I am coming soon.”
One of the worst wrong-headed suppositions of our time says that since Jesus’ Ascension, the angels haven’t just gone quiet. They’ve disappeared.
I have said it myself. For a long time, I believed in the angelic vanishing act for two major reasons. The first says that beginning at Pentecost, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit eliminated angelic announcements and interventions. The second reason was that angels were sent into history to turn tides, and now saints perform that function. For example, Padre Pio, St. Anthony, and Mother Mary. These might have some truth to them. They're very weak positions, though.
I’ve skipped over the notion that angels don’t exist, which neither scripture nor tradition will support. Instead, let’s look at historical accounts of angels in scripture. The most convincing is that angels have always been veiled from our sight, just like they were in Elisha’s time.
Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid. Our side outnumbers theirs.” Then he prayed, “Oh Lord, open his eyes, that he may see.” And the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw that the mountainside was filled with fiery chariots and horses around Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:16-17)
Veiled is undoubtedly the proper answer. I don’t know if God believes we’d go all wacko on angels as alien creatures (which is entirely plausible) or that angels have no trustworthy governor on holding back their disgust for evil if they were in plain site. We’d get beaten as much as the demons!
There’s been childish imagery of angels, even in our time.
Over my right shoulder, fantasies tell me, sits my guardian angel. Based on the size and physical properties of angels, I find that visualization absurd. I tend to list a bit to my right, but it’s not my guardian angel’s weighty perch. I often tilt my head that way, trying to figure things out. It’s a good story but preposterous.
Built into the perched position of guardian angels to our right resides our supposed personally assigned demon upon our left shoulder. We all know that demons must hide from angels. One look from an angelic being and devils explode into dust. The block of my head isn’t a logical hiding place for a demon only ten inches from an angel’s capable, visionary skills. Angels aren’t afraid of demons or influenced inappropriately by their wiles.
Leaving demons to do their dirty deeds, then, is something angels are told to do. Left shoulder or hiding in our pants pocket, the incorrigible influence of evil is denied at our peril.
Demons sneak into our lives only as allowed by God and invited by us. How else could it be?
Angels must be respectful of our ugly willfulness as God prompts them. That also means God, however, can use angels for the opposite engagement — saving our pitiful selves from ourselves. Therein begins any evidence of angel experiences. It’s an interpretation, I know. We assign the reason for some intervention or miraculous shift in physics and time as angelic interference. I’m willing to do so.
Childish calculations like the weight and girth of celestial beings have improperly influenced my grasp of the spiritual realm for most of my life. Another hurdle for me has been the whispering of angels in my ear. That mode of communication belongs to the Holy Spirit. The confusion of audial input from angels and the Holy Spirit hasn’t been addressed by anyone in science, much less by the philosophical meanderings of theologians and evangelists.
“Angels have higher decibel voices than God. That’s how you can tell. Devils whine at us.” Who has calculated the noises from the Spirits? No one has ever said that. Our primary problem when hearing the whispering in our ear is that we object to God’s influences. I’ll leave the “voices in our head” diagnosis to the psychiatrists.
You can tell that I believe in guardian angels. Always have. And that’s an adult decision. I have no advice on how to prove it’s true. Similar to the gift of faith, believing in angels is a spiritual realm awakening that God orchestrates. His communication may make sense only to us, and looks foolish to others.
I’ve found the following mantra, a repeated call to God, to be the door opening for grasping an adult version of angelic belief. I often say, “Angels are welcome here.”
It’s similar to opening the door on faith. “I welcome you in, God. Let me know what you will.”
In both cases, we may not have enough evidence to know God or to recognize an angel. The simplicity of the requests, however, allows for the existence of angels and, indeed the existence of God. Adults eventually have to take this step to encounter the divine and his heavenly hosts. Even as ridiculous as it may sound, accounting for God isn’t as important as saying hello and waiting for a reply.
Children, so more easily awakened to God’s presence, have little trouble believing in God and angels. They either get talked out of it, become self-aware and unwilling to look foolish, or they find the physical world much more exciting.
In all cases, whether we knew angels as a young child, or had no idea about them, when pressed for an answer as an adult, all we need ask is, “Show me.”
Why go to the trouble and silly-sounding steps of welcoming angels and asking God to show you his will? Besides the blatant simplicity of it, the scriptures and our liturgical life expect that from us. It’s the following text from Revelation that reminds us of the reason for opening up to God and his hosts. Not just our upcoming deaths, nor even the end of the world itself. It’s the idea that God will eventually stand in front of us and we should have some notion about how to recognize him.
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens* will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
It’s an odd think, this consideration of angels and God living around us 24x7. We are born with a natural inclination to be awakened to the celestial realm. It's too common in every human cult, whether savages in caves or billionaires in high castles. We are told to be ready. Know when to “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
Wouldn’t some angelic assistance and friendship to God be just what we need?