“I believe that the Christmas story is a turning point in all of human history because if you go back and read the Old Testament stories about human encounters with angels—usually these prophets who are meeting up with angels—and what do they do? They fall down flat on their face! This happens to Balaam and it happens to Daniel; now Balaam is a shady character, but Daniel is a good guy and both of them just fall flat on their faces. Daniel says he felt unconscious when he saw an angel. Ezekiel and Isaiah both report that they were awestruck, dumbstruck when they saw angels,” says Mike Aquilina, author of over 40 books and regular contributor to Catholic radio.
“What’s interesting about the Christmas story is that suddenly, human beings are encountering angels, not as something intimidating, but as something that’s working for them, something that’s almost friendly. They experience a certain fellowship with the angels and I think that this is a consequence of the Incarnation. Because the Word has taken flesh, something essential has changed in the way that earth relates to heaven, the human relates to the heavenly, and we relate to angels. Something has changed and that’s visible in those interactions that we’re going to be hearing about in all the readings in the days to come,” explains Aquilina.
“Saint Paul mentions this very much in passing in I believe the fourth chapter of his letter to the Galatians, where he says in the Old Testament they were our overseers. The angels were kind of like babysitters, they were custodians of us, so they’re just trying to keep us on the straight and narrow and they don’t seem to be succeeding too well because we’re rebellious,” says Aquilina. “But everything changes with the Incarnation because we’re baptized into the Son of God who is condescended to become a man like us, He’s condescended to become human and incorporate us into His life. So now, we see the angel as in our service.”
“Saint Augustine used this shocking word to discuss the angel’s role in our lives, that they are amicitia, they are our friends. So we should be enjoying friendship with them – that’s what Catholic devotion to the angels is; it’s nothing more than that. Friendship with the angels just like the apostles enjoyed, we see that in the Acts of the Apostles. Just like Saint John enjoyed in the Book of Revelation. We are living the friendship with the angels and we have to ask ourselves – how well are we living it? How is our devotion to the holy angels? What difference has Christmas made? If Christmas has made a difference in our lives, we should be interacting with our holy angels.”