Angels 101: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions About Angels

Today is the feast of the archangels, Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. And later this week, on October 2nd, we will celebrate the feast of the guardian angels. Angels are a popular topic among Relevant Radio® listeners, and many listeners like you have called in to ask questions about angels and our relationship to them.

Fr. Matthew Hincks, a priest of Opus Sanctorum Angelorum, stopped by The Drew Mariani Show™ to answer your frequently asked questions about angels. Read on to learn more, and don’t forget to pray to your angel today!

Why did God create angels?
Well, it’s the same reason he created human beings – in order to share his love. The essence of God is love. God is love. And the essence of love is the capacity to share goodness and to diffuse the love.

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God, having so much happiness and so much love, wanted to share that with others. So he created the angels and human beings in order to share his love. He created the angels to give them a portion of his love, and also to help them govern and guide the created universe.

Do angels have a gender?
For one thing, angels are spiritual beings, spiritual persons. This means that they do not have a gender. They are neither male nor female. Just like God himself. He is a spiritual being, not male or female.

However, wherever angels are depicted or described in the Bible, from the beginning to the end, they are always depicted in a masculine way, as masculine persons doing masculine things. Leading, fighting, directing, commanding. And so we can conclude from this that this is a kind of revelation. That the Lord wants us to understand angels in a masculine way. But there is no gender because they do not have a body.

We as humans are sons and daughters of God. We’re heirs to the Kingdom. And yet, angels have greater powers than we. They move at the speed of thought. They have all these other gifts. Who has a higher created order? Angels or humans?
Angels, definitively. Because they have an angelic nature as opposed to our human nature. We can say that the least powerful angel in heaven is immensely more intelligent and powerful than the smartest and strongest human being.

Do people become angels after they die?
Some people believe that if we do go to heaven we become an angel. But human beings will never become angels.

There is some confusion that resulted from one of Christ’s statements in Scripture. He said that we will become, in the next life, like angels. He said like angels, and like means having a similarity to the angels. Just as the angels praise, serve, and do the will of God in heaven, so we too when we get to heaven will be like angels in that we will be standing beside them praising and worshipping the Lord in heaven. So in that way, we will be like angels. But we will not turn into an angel.

Is it OK to call a child “my little angel”?
Yes, that’s certainly permissible. Seeing many of the qualities we associate with angels – purity, goodness, kindness – as connected with the person we call by that name. So it is certainly permissible and commendable in certain cases.

Do we have to pray out loud in order for our guardian angel to hear our prayer?
No. Because we simply have to make the decision that we want them to know what we are praying to them about, asking them for, or speaking to them. Then the Lord will mysteriously make known to the angel our request to them or our thoughts.

Because the essence of communication is not necessarily speaking something out loud with words, but it is the decision that we make to communicate a thought to someone else, be that an angel or another human being. So first of all we make that decision that we want the angel to know our thoughts, and then he will know them.

Can you have more than one angel assigned to you?
Yes. It’s understood that everyone only gets one guardian angel. But some of the saints, like St. Thomas Aquinas, believed that the Lord could assign a second angel to a priest, a bishop, or someone who has a position of great authority like a governor or president of a country to help them fulfill their responsibilities.

Do we have authority over angels?
We do have a certain amount of authority over our angel, so we can ask them to help us, and to help other persons. We can send them to persons we believe are in danger, to deliver a message, or influence them for the good.

But even though we do have a certain amount of authority over our angel to ask him to help us or help others, we should never see him as some kind of a servant or think we can order him around or think we are superior to him.

Can you name your angel?
The Church has discouraged us from naming our guardian angel. In fact, there was a document put out in 2001 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments called  The Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy, and it stated in that document specifically that “the practice of assigning names to the angels should be discouraged, except in the case of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.”

So this is a strong statement by the Vatican on this particular point. And one of the reasons for it is that there is evidence in Scripture that the Lord has already given a name to all the angels. Specifically in Isaiah and in Psalm 47. So our guardian angel already has a name. A name given to him by God. So it could be seen as presumptuous on our part to give our angel a new name since he has already been given one.

All you angels and saints, pray for us!

Tune-in to The Drew Mariani Show weekdays from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Central on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

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Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.