One Angel

MichaelArchangelGuidoReni

We read on numerous occasions in Sacred Scripture that the appearance of a single angel strikes tremendous fear in the heart of man. The angelic nature is significantly superior to our fallen human nature, and we can do little but tremble when encountering something so superior. But if the sight of one single angel can cause so much fear and wonderment, who can comprehend what sights must be in store for those blessed souls who happily attain to heaven?

Theologians contend that there exist nine distinct choirs or groups of angels. The lowest of these nine choirs is supposed to contain a number of angels that is ten times greater than the number of all human beings who have ever existed. The second-lowest choir of angels is supposed to have ten times more members than the lowest choir. And so on, and so on, all the way up to the final and greatest choir of angels.

Rough estimates say somewhere around 100-billion people have walked this earth to date. Assuming that number is fairly accurate, and assuming the world ends fairly soon, we could approximate somewhere around 1-trillion angels in the lowest of the nine choirs. The second choir would have around 10-trillion members, and, well, one gets the idea.

Now imagine these incomprehensibly vast legions of angels, and remember the awe that one simple angel inspires. (Another point to consider is the fact that some theologians maintain only the lowest choirs of angels are sent as messengers to earth. The higher, more superior angels remain in heaven ministering to God. If the lowest of the angels are so terribly great, what must a man think if he were to encounter the highest!?) Could any man possibly bear such a sight? Surely he would die of fear and trembling before such terrible greatness.

As great as the sight of the angels in heaven will be, they will all pale in comparison to the queen of the angels. This most blessed virgin will be exalted higher than even the highest of the angels, and her glory will make their vast legions seem as naught.

Consider this, the greatness of these sights that await the good souls who enter into heaven. Who can comprehend them? Where can we find anything even remotely similar here on earth? If a man were to behold the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary governing all of the vast legions of angels and saints in heaven, he surely could not bear the supernatural nature of the sight.

Ponder this thought, and then consider the fact that all of this is absolutely nothing when compared to the glory of God. This is the essence of heaven–the beatific vision. To behold God face to face in all of His glory is truly beyond words. One can simply repeat with St. Paul, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard: neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Love Him, dear reader, that you may someday behold Him for all of blissful eternity.

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