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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Angels and Demons

Sister, I have a question for you: Do angels and demons, or the devil share any characteristics with God? I ask because we talk about the devil tempting us or about a guardian angel watching over us...So does that mean that they can be in many places at once and see into our hearts and know things we can't know? Thank you and thank you for your great work for the Church!

We all share characteristics with God.  We are made in His image and likeness. I don't believe that notion has gone out any windows.  Angels and devils certainly share characteristics.  God made them, too.  All devils were once angels.

In our attempt to understand the supernatural, which is beyond our understanding, we picture angels and devils as beings like us except the good ones have wings and halos and the bad ones have horns and tails wings.  The unfortunate down side of this characterization is that it makes devils look more powerful than angels.  They are so often giant and red, with massive horns and long fingernails, while angels are sweet faced Swedish looking types.  I think that is by artistic design to remind us, if not scare the devil out of us, about what we're up against.

But always remember who won the battle in the first place.  The angels won.  That should tell us who to back.  That's why I never understood these silly people who want to be Satanists and worship the devil and all that nonsense.  I understand how people make the mistake of following earthly evil, like say, Hitler, because of their misguided notions and fears.  But why would anyone want to follow the thing that lost the battle and the power in the first place in the pursuit of power on earth with the full understanding that after that's over, it all adds up to eternity in Hell?  Because if you are a follower of Satan, you do believe in an afterlife and Hell, or you couldn't believe in Satan in the first place.  So, really, how dumb can you get?

I digress.

What was the question?  Oh, yes!  the characteristics of God.

We don't know what angels and devils actually look like.  When angels appear in the Bible, they look just like us, but they are able to come and go supernaturally.  Tobias travels all over with his friend, Raphael, who happens to be an archangel.  They seem to all appear as young men (who are created in God's likeness). Abraham has some angels over for lunch.

When the devil comes to tempt Jesus in the desert, we really don't get a description of him.  We never see the demons that afflict humans through possession, we just see the ugly results.  The devil in the desert rather seems to be walking around talking to Jesus like a person, but the devil does show Jesus visions of how great it would be if Jesus would give up all the God stuff and follow Satan instead. Jesus, who has a brain in His head, says no.  That certainly would have been a coup for the devil, to have the Second Person in the Holy Trinity on his side.

But the devil is always a loser.

My point is that angels and devils, though we have seen them in rather human form, are not humans.  Angels are not human beings who have died and gone to Heaven and devils are not human beings who have died and gone to Hell.  If an angel "doesn't have his wings", he's just not that kind of angel, despite what SzuSzu's teacher said.  Angels don't even need wings to travel around, as Tobias and Abraham can attest.

As beings that God created, we assume they, too, have some of His characteristics.  What your question actually refers to is their supernatural powers, like bi-location and what geeks call 'shape-shifting', like taking on human form.  I'm not sure if they can 'see into our hearts'.  I wouldn't put it past them.  There are humans who have those powers, like Padre Pio (who could also bi-locate).

Just keep in mind that these gifts, like the gift of life itself, come from God.  The devil shows us that we always have a choice in how to use our gifts.


Anonymous said...

I looked but didn't see any St. Fabiola medals in your shop. I would like to buy one. Any chance there will be one in the near future?

Sister Mary Martha said...

There are no St. Fabiloa medals available. I could put her on a glass pendant for you, like St. Bibiana over there. I can put whatever you can't find on a glass pendant.

Ute said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha,

I appreciate your blog so very much! I love how you always seem to find just the right patron saint for any cause. And so I'm writing to you with my own question: who would you recommend as the patron saint for military spouses? With all the loneliness, the worrying, and the hardships that we are facing, we could use our own saint for intercessions. My friend Maia was thinking of St. Margaret of Scotland (her reasons are stated here: http://flowersroundthecross.blogspot.com/2009/11/when-ute-and-i-were-brain-birthing-this.html), but can you think of a saint whose husband was NOT killed in battle and came home safe and sound instead?
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this!

Anonymous said...

I heard that the early church put horns on the devil to get pagans away from worshipping the god of the hunt (who had horns, like the animals they hunted).

Maureen said...

I ask the archangel Raphael daily - hourly - to heal my son. I feel comforted, just knowing that there is such a powerful being to turn to, and I hadn't really heard of this archangel until someone mentioned the Book of Tobit to me when my son was diagnosed with leukaemia.I have since read it many times.
I could never cope with this level of grieving without the knowledge that I am absolutely not alone.

Anonymous said...

Sister, Would you please guide me to a patron saint. These are my issues: I work full time as a school guidance counselor, I am married and have three children. My son is a nice young adult who has graduated from college and lives successfully on his own. My daughters are a mess. Both still live at home. The oldest thinks partying is her main purpose in life and she has a daughter out of wedlock. The youngest suffers from mental illness and struggles from day to day. Needless to say I feel stressed and am often vacillating between being angry, frustrated, and worried sick. I would really appreciate your guidance. Thank you your blog really is a bright spot for me.

Lily said...

We also know that angels are pure spirits so they don't actually have bodies (but they can of course appear as humans, or multi-eyed, four-faced beings as in some of the prophets' writings in the Old Testament). Like God, they have powerful intellects and wills. They don't have to learn, unlike us temporal humans, which is why demons can't repent from the fall (I think they technically exist outside of time.)

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

@Anonymous School Guidance Counselor: Our Lady of Perpetual Help is almost always a good bet for anyone with problems. St. Dymphna is the patron saint of mental and emotional illness. And St. Monica is the patron saint of mothers of wild adult children.

Anonymous said...

Sister, please answer this. Although I can't say why I'm asking, just know the answer is important. But spiritually speaking, is it possible for an angel to marry a demon? More specifically can the Angel of Death marry a powerful demon?