Filling in the Ranks of the Angels

(Adoration of the Lamb - Jan van Eyck)

(Adoration of the Lamb – Jan van Eyck)

(Our friend, Janet Klasson – better known as Pelianito – sent me this marvelous meditation, sparked originally by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. It took my breath away. Though I reserve the right to write the headline for any piece, I was so impressed that the headline remains just as Janet proposed it. The capital letters in the quotes are by Pelianito for emphasis. – CJ)

By Pelianito

It is tempting to think of angels as almost incidental to the plan of salvation, interested observers, messengers of God who do his bidding with joy but are not really involved otherwise.  Personally, I don’t remember ever giving a thought to what the angels themselves may or may not feel about the salvation of humankind.  But something I read recently changed that.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, had some very interesting things to say about the angels that I had never heard before.  Here are the two excerpts from his “Commentary on the Song of Songs” that caught my attention:

“(The saints and angels) each have their special care for you: the saints because they will not themselves be made perfect without you; the angels because WITHOUT YOU THEIR FULL NUMBER CANNOT BE RESTORED, for, as you all know, when Satan and his myrmidons fell from heaven, the number of the heavenly host was greatly diminished. Thus ALL THINGS AWAIT THEIR CONSUMMATION FROM YOU, SOME THE COMPLETION OF THEIR NUMBERS (angels), others the fulfillment of their desires (saints).” (Sermon 77, #4)

“When he uses the ministry of angels for the salvation of the human race, is it not so that the angels may be loved by men? For it is clear that men are loved by the angels because they are not unaware that THE LOSSES IN THEIR RANKS WILL BE MADE UP BY MEN.” (Sermon 78, #1)

I had not heard of this idea of “filling in the ranks” before, but as I pondered these words from a Doctor of the Church, it began to dawn on me that the angels must be intensely interested in the salvation of the human race.  St. Bernard tells us that all things are awaiting this “filling in the ranks”, that its consummation will mark a crucial point in the plan of God.   No wonder the fallen angels are so intent on the destruction of human souls!  What must they be willing to do to make sure we do not have sufficient numbers to fill the ranks?  Are we getting close?  Is that why the evil one seems to be raging harder than ever?

The evil of contraception takes on an even more diabolical aspect in this light.  Fewer souls are being born even to Christian parents.  In this light, contraception may possibly be considered a greater evil than abortion because the souls of aborted babies, through the mercy of God, may still fill the ranks, but if souls are prevented from ever being conceived they cannot fill up the ranks of the fallen angels.  May God have mercy on this generation!

And there is the key. Mercy is what we have been given and what will turn the tables on the evil one’s plan. Mercy is the reason we are called to the penitential way. Mercy is the not-so-secret weapon of God, and we penitents, if we so desire, may be used as instruments of his mercy in this generation. Pope Emeritus Benedict seemed to confirm this message with his encyclical, “Spe Salvi” (On Christian Hope).  In it he says: “As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: How can I save myself? We should also ask: What can I do in order that others may be saved?”

By God’s grace we are called to offer sacrifices for souls, so that the numbers of souls stolen from this generation by the consummate liar and thief, may be made up through the conversion of hearts—particularly the hearts of great sinners, those the evil one counted as his own!  Our meager penances, linked to the sufferings of Christ, offered with love for the sake of souls will bear fruit.  God would not call us to this way if it did no good.  He would not equip us to live this way if there was no point to it.

We are preparing the way of the Lord, making straight his paths to hearts by offering reparations and praying for conversions.  We are servants of the Blessed Mother who is calling the world to conversion.  For over a hundred years she has been specifically and unequivocally calling us to offer prayers and sacrifices for sinners.  Are we listening?  The angels are praying for us, guiding us, protecting us and pulling for us.  Let us join their ranks now.  They are counting on us.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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47 Responses to Filling in the Ranks of the Angels

  1. Donette says:

    Perhaps you have not heard of Opus Angelorum. People who are well aware of Our Lady’s messages have been going to Opus Angelorum priests to be consecrated to the Angels for multiple years. They are building a large Monastery in Carollton, Ohio. If interested, here is the website.
    https://www.opusangelorum.org/english.html

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Some may have heard of controversy concerning this. There are some ex-members who had abused things and gotten outside of the teaching of the Church, so the Vatican in 1983 and then again, in 1992, issued instructions on how this movement is to act to stay in obedience with the Holy See. I don’t know all in depth, but the main controversies seemed to be that people were giving names to angels strictly through private revelation and engaging in unlawful consecrations to particular angels. It is an approved organization, the abuses have, to my knowledge, been cleared up to the satisfaction of the Holy See and is currently in good standing. It emphasizes prayer and support for priests which, heaven knows, is much needed right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky-TN says:

    WOW!!!

    Like

  3. Melanie says:

    Yes! I too recently learned through the book, “The Complete Visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich” about the angels. That we were to help with the replacement of those that had fallen! Great confirmation! I also, encourage you all to give thanks for your “Guardian Angel” and ask him for his prayers, help and guidance to please God in all you do! Blessings follow!

    Like

  4. Matthew says:

    I am a fan of Opus Angelorum and have made their suggested consecration to my Guardian Angel. Although I would want to second the caution Charlie noted about either naming or seeking to discover the name of our Guardian Angel since these practices are discouraged by the Church.
    I would also like to mention the Angelic Warfare Confraternity.
    http://www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org/
    This is an apostolate established by the Dominicans about 400 years ago. It is a prayer confraternity which invokes the Holy Angels to assist in matters of purity / chastity.
    Matthew

    Like

  5. margaret says:

    Can someone one help me understand how we lowly humans can help restore the ranks of angels. I had thought that angels were God’s creation and different from us in some fundamental way(s). Can fallen angels experience conversion or how would their ranks increase? Thanks for any guidance.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Margaret, we also are God’s creation. We are fundamentally different from the angels. But the souls of the saints can fill up the ranks of the angels, I would think (though saints have affirmed this – the Church has not spoken definitively on it, so it is not a sure thing, by any means, I don’t think). Think of it this way: the American colonists were of one nationality. After some losses, some of the ranks of American soldiers were filled up by Frenchmen. The Frenchmen did not cease to be Frenchmen because they came to help…but they did fill up the thinning ranks of American soldiers in that cause. A saint does not become an angel, but I see nothing impossible about God having a saint share the angels’ work.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. DanSouthChicago says:

    Pelianito, Charlie,

    Thank you so much. As someone earlier said, WOW! God bless.

    Like

  7. aprolifer says:

    Another Wow, Charlie, thank you so much for repeating this post. I don’t follow Pelianito (too many blogs, too much housework and too many health problems to deal with) and I would have missed it entirely if it hadn’t come to my email inbox. What a great thing to run by my Protestant siblings (who are on the other side of the country and to whom I am going to pay my annual visit in another month). I have held forth about the evils of contraception and been ignored because it’s just one of those Catholic things, they won’t listen to the theology of the body — but they just might listen to this.

    While I’m at it, thanks for your previous post where you mentioned we shouldn’t get hung up about the conversion of the said Protestant friends and relatives; more trust in God’s mercy (combined of course with prayer and fasting) is needed.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Pelianito is kind enough to send me certain articles she thinks would be appropriate and useful here. Some of them appear on her website, but some are original material – as I believe this one was. It is great to have such profound thinkers and believers sharing some of their work here.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mark says:

      One of the readers of Charlie’s posts the other day (with great insight) compared the words of Christ with the prochoice movement, Jesus said at the last supper (see Luke 22:19)“This is my body, which will be given for you…”, the pro choice (including those who use contraception) basically say “This is my Body, which will not be given up for you”. You might ask your siblings If any Christian, not just us Catholics,is to follow the example of Jesus which of those phrases applies to them?

      I apologize I didn’t look up who posted this little gem, but I thank you, it certainly is worthy of consideration.

      A further example is Jesus saying (Matthew 20:28)
      “28 Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom* for many.”
      Vs the satans
      “I will not serve”,
      again which is best to imitate? Which is the the wise choice and not the poor choice?

      Like

  8. Mack says:

    A wonderful meditation!
    St Thomas Aquinas also taught that while we as human beings can never become angels by nature (we remain human in heaven), by grace we can take their place and be brought up to glory in the places they abandoned when they fell:

    “Therefore by the gift of grace men can merit glory in such a degree as to be equal to the angels, in each of the angelic grades; and this implies that men are taken up into the orders of the angels. Some, however, say that not all who are saved are assumed into the angelic orders, but only virgins or the perfect; and that the other will constitute their own order, as it were, corresponding to the whole society of the angels. But this is against what Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xii, 9), that “there will not be two societies of men and angels, but only one; because the beatitude of all is to cleave to God alone.”
    Summa, I, q. 108, article 8

    Like

    • Mack says:

      PS St Thomas wrote a LOT about the angels in the Summa. The medieval theologians were fascinated by the angels and meditated deeply on their role. For Thomas the angels were also fascinating because of his philosophy of being. He sometimes called them “separated substances” because being pure spirits, they are not made of matter at all but are “separated” from it.

      Like

  9. margaret says:

    Thank you charlie for making profound concepts so accessible. Pelianito’s post and your commentary are a feast!

    Like

  10. donna says:

    this is such a beautiful meditation, Peli, thank you for my inspiration for the day.

    Like

  11. Thanks for your kind words everyone. All inspiration comes from God. To Him be all praise and glory!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Barbara Dore says:

    A Catholic priest is higher than the angels

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I’m not quite sure what you intend with this, Barbara, because I do not believe it could possibly be true. Speaking of St. John the Baptist while he lived, Jesus said he was the greatest of all the prophets and more – but that even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Angels are in heaven. While in this life, we are all beneath the angels – including priests and Bishops. Those of us who are ultimately raised to heaven are raised above the angels. Now if this is just a feeling that you assert, I think you are badly mistaken. If you mean more than what you actually wrote, you need to expand upon it so you do not find yourself contradicting Jesus.

      Like

      • Matthew says:

        To come to Barbara’s defense, perhaps she is remembering the comment of St. Francis of Assisi, that if he was walking down the road and met an angel and a priest he would greet the priest first. The idea behind this, of course, is the sacramental authority that a priest has when speaking the various Sacramental formulae. When the priest says the word of absolution or the words of consecration, in a certain sense, he compels God to act in a way that no angel does.
        Matthew

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        • charliej373 says:

          Well, that makes sense and is reasonable. But though Barbara is a valued commenter, I cannot leave an unexplained assertion that directly contradicts the words of Christ from Scripture without comment. A priest certainly has some sacramental powers that even angels do not.

          Like

          • Mark says:

            A Priest shares in the ministry of Jesus in a way an Angel can not. A Priest acts in persona Christi, and I would imagine that the Angels look on that with awe.

            Like

        • Barbara Dore says:

          Matthew, that is right!. I try to point out about A Catholic priest is able to change a simple bread into Jesus’s blood and Body whereas all angels cannot. Only Catholic priests!

          Like

      • Barbara Dore says:

        If I see a priest and an angel at the same time. I would bow to the priest first.

        Like

      • Barbara Dore says:

        English is my second language. I find hard to express it in writing.

        Like

        • Barbara Dore says:

          Jesus, Thank you for priests. I ask pardon for those who did not respect them , or did not pray for them. Please save our priests and beloved sons of Our lady, the Queen of priests. Amen.

          Our Lady of Borg in Nadur promised to repay us if we pray for her beloved sons. She said all priests are her beloved sons…I confirm that I got some lovely surprises from her. I was very blessed to have a priest from USA in my house for three days a few years ago. It was definitely Our Lady repaying me!!! I was so privileged to have three mass being celebrated in my house!!! Praised be to God.

          Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Ah, I would never have guessed that English is your second language, Barbara.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Petra says:

      I understood Barbara to mean that because of a priest’s ability confect the sacraments, the ability to concentrate bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ and to absolve from sin, they are for that reason above the angels. I have seen this thought reflected in the early biographies of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis of Assisi used to say, “If I saw an Angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest and then to the Angel.” St. Alphonsus Liguori expounds on this topic and cites numerous writings of saints regarding the dignity, grandeur, and importance of the priest. Quite a profound reflection.
      https://www.fisheaters.com/holyorders3.html

      Like

    • TC says:

      St John Vianney speaks most eloquently about the dignity of the priest:
      https://www.fisheaters.com/holyorders2.html

      TC

      Like

  13. Donette says:

    We know that Angels are spirit. But it is a fact they can take on the appearance of a human. We read that in Scripture.

    Charlie is the only one who can describe to us the physical appearance of an Archangel and perhaps that physical appearance can change according to whom they have been sent to instruct. There may be others seeing angels, but Charlie is the only one who has spoken to us about his angel director. I love the description of Charlie’s angel that Charlie gives even though in writing, his words describing the angel have been few

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Yes, Donette, I keep descriptions to few words, for I have no doubt that angels can take different forms at different times. I know once when my angel was irritated with me, he grew to a commanding and imperious stature…which made me realize why angels could be so intimidating to the ancients.

      Like

    • Barbara Dore says:

      God, all angels and demons are “shapeshifters.”

      Like

      • SteveBC says:

        Barbara Dore, your comment made me consider the Vanity Fair pic of transgender Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner in a new light: Humans have now also become shape-shifters in ways that tinker with us as in the image of God. I could be off on a wrong track here, but I thought I’d at least pass on the thought.

        Like

  14. luvmercy5775 says:

    Charlie writes: While in this life, we are all beneath the angels – including priests and Bishops. Those of us who are ultimately raised to heaven are raised above the angels. >

    Scripture, proves this statement to be correct. The following article explains it rather well.

    Are we equal, lower, or higher than the angels?
    http://www.neverthirsty.org/index.php

    Bible Question:There is a scripture that says that God made us a little lower than the angels. There is another scripture that states that when we die, we are equal to the angels. There is another scripture that implies that we are higher than the angels because God made us in His image. The angel asks God why does he pay so much attention to man. Can you answer these three questions? Are we equal, lower, or higher than the angels?

    Bible Answer:We will try to unscramble the problem by addressing each question in order. First, scripture implies that we are made lower than the angels when the book of Hebrews says that Jesus Christ, who became a man, was made lower than the angels.

    YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS . . . (NASB) Hebrews 2:7

    In the first chapter of Hebrews, we are told that Jesus was above the angels since He was and is God. But Hebrews 2:7-9 explains that when Jesus became a man, He was made lower than the angels in the sense that He took on human flesh. He was still God. He was God in human flesh. He was temporarily lower than the angels because He took on human form.

    Therefore, Hebrews 2:7-9 implies that humans are made lower than the angels.

    Second, scripture never says that we are equal to the angels. Scripture only implies that we are lower than the angels while we live here on this earth. Yet, those who go to heaven will some day judge angels.

    Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:3

    Some day those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him will judge the angels. The saints of the ages will judge the angels. This will occur not while we are made of flesh and bone. It will occur only after we receive new heavenly bodies. This is a future event that will occur after we have become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.

    Conclusion:Therefore, while we live here on this earth we are lower than the angels. But when Christians enter heaven they will be higher than the angels because they will be the sons and daughters of the living God (John 1:12).

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Nicely and precisely explained, Luv.

      Like

      • Mick says:

        OK… I am really confused about something, and have been for some time. Maybe you could clear it up for me. For quite some time, I have wondered whether angels are, technically speaking, members of the Church, the Body of Christ. I had always assumed that they were, since they live in heaven and we refer to several of them as Saints. But my eldest son pointed out to me several months ago that, according to Catechism (I can’t remember if he was referring to the Baltimore Catechism or the official CCC), angels are not members of the Church. So I got out the CCC and took a look. Paragraph 335 states, “In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God.” This makes it look like there is a distinction between the Church and the angels. Then, you stated in your article on the satan that angels are servants in the house of the Master, whereas we are called to be heirs of the Father. I also remember reading something that gave me pause once. The book was “Pere Lamy”; it is about a holy French priest (who died in 1931) who was described by his bishop as “another Cure of Ars.” He had many mystical gifts, such as the gift of reading hearts, the gift of prophecy, etc. He often saw angels, demons, the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, etc. Pere Lamy said that whenever he spoke with the angels, they never referred to Mary as “mother”; he said that they only ever referred to her as “Queen.”

        So, are angels members of the Church Triumphant, or not? Are they created in the image and likeness or God also, or not? Are we members of the Church Militant to consider the angels as our brethren in Christ, or not? I’m really puzzled. Help! 🙂

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Perhaps someone better versed in the theology could answer, Mick. Certainly, they are beloved members of God’s household – but they are beloved servants. They are not made in the image of God. Man is. We are heirs. I would think the Church encompasses all the beloved members of the household – and the angels are certainly beloved members of that Divine Household, but their role is different than ours.

          Like

    • Mary Ann says:

      All of which speaks to the wonderful humility of the angels.

      Like

  15. SteveBC says:

    Huh, it never occurred to me that the ranks of angels even needed to be fleshed out, let alone that some humans would be picked for such an honor. Learn somethin’ new every day! Thank you, Janet Pelianito. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lin says:

    Quite intriguing! Thank you, Charlie and Janet!

    Like

  17. Vijaya says:

    Fascinating! Learning so much here. Thank you and God bless.

    Like

  18. radiclaudio says:

    Hi all, missed you all but have been praying much especially recently on pilgramage.

    Excellent article. Thank you Charlie.

    Like

  19. Kathleen Vacheresse says:

    This is our angel story. Our son-law Scott’s young nephew was tragically killed at the age of 7 on Sept 26th 1998 and had just begun his preparation for Holy Communion. I sat at the back of the” church with our youngest grandchildren so their parents and older children could be with the family. During Mass our 3 yr old Kimberlyn said very loudly grandma angels are everywhere. I placed my finger on her lips and said Shh! But then again at the Consecration. she again said out loud, the angels are all with Jesus. She away called Father Jesus when she saw him at Mass. I have always believed that God gave her the grace to see what we all know but can not see at every Mass throughout the world. May we all become like little children in our relationship with Jesus . Amen

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