Learn About Love, Forgiveness and Magic of the Angels :
During the past decade, we’ve witnessed a tremendous resurgence of interest in angels. This interest seems new to many people who are discovering angels for the first time. However, our present attention is but the latest part of a long tradition that has sought to preserve a sacred mystery. Angels reveal the path to God.
Special devotion and veneration of the angels have been permitted, even encouraged, in the Christian church since its beginnings. Devotional cults are most prominent in Catholicism. Catholic tradition regards angels as conscious beings of high intelligence, not bound by the limitations of physical laws, who can be of help to humanity–but who must not be worshiped or adored, or placed above Christ or God.
Devotion to angels centers on imitating them, for they in turn imitate God. Veneration of saints is closely associated with angelic devotion, for saints are considered to be the real friends of angels and models of piety to men and women.
Though angels played an important role in Christian piety from a very early stage, it was not until 325 A.D. that the Council of Nicea made belief in angels a part of dogma. This stimulated theological discussions and writings on angels that have continued to the present.
The early Christian Church looked to St. Paul for setting the standard for veneration of angels. On various occasions, Paul referred to angels within a context of respect and veneration. In 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, for example, Paul discusses proper ways to worship. Women should worship with their heads covered, he says in 11:10, “because of the angels.” In this way, they show respect for the divine order, which is administered by angels (also, women are assigned a lower status than men, whose heads are Christ; men should not worship with their heads covered).
Early Church Fathers were sometimes cautious about encouraging veneration of angels. On one hand, angels were convenient substitutes for pagan gods and daimons, a type of intermediary spirit, and thus aided the campaign for conversion. On the other hand, the Fathers did not wish to see worship of pagan gods merely transferred to angels. St. Justin Martyr defended veneration of angels, and the philosopher Celsus declared that angels were different from gods, else they would be called demons.
Origen took pains to distinguish between worship of God and devotion to angels. In his work Contra Celsum, he states: “We indeed acknowledge that Angels are ministering spirits, and we say they are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation, and that they ascend, bearing the supplications of men, to the purest of the heavenly places in the universe, or even to the supercelestial regions purer still, and they come down from these, conveying to each one, according to his deserts, something enjoined by God to be conferred by them upon those who are to be the recipients of His benefits…