Trinity 3, God as Ruler of Angels

Did you notice the similarity between the Epistle (Tobit 12:6) and Gospel (Luke 1:8) today? In both cases, the people were afraid of the angels that appeared unto them, and in both cases the angels said “Fear not!” I wondered if we would react the same way if we saw an Angel? What is there to fear from an Angel, I thought! They do only God’s will. They are pure beings-pure spirit, wholly unselfish. Maybe we would be taken aback by that very purity? Maybe we would compare ourselves to their holy lives and find ourselves wanting? Truly, though, I cannot find a reason to fear an angel. Certainly they mean us no harm!

You know, there are Angels here with us, right now. The priest, in the beginning of the Eucharist, asks for Angelic assistance when he says right at the start in the Asperges “And I pray our Heavenly Father that he will send his holy Angel to build for us a spiritual temple through which his strength and blessing may be poured forth upon his people.” These are no idle words! If we had the inner eyes, the clairvoyant sight, to see, we would see the Angel of the Eucharist appear at that moment and not leave us until the priest dismisses all the Angels at the end with the words, “Ite, missa est,” which is to say, “Go, it is finished.”

Bishop C. W. Leadbeater, in his massive work, The Science of the Sacraments, tells us much of the angelic help that goes on during the Eucharist. He talks of the Angel of the Eucharist, the Angel of the Presence, the Directing Angel of the First Ray, and so many others who join in the work of creating the “temple not made with hands.” After the service, at the back of the church, look at the illustration on the south wall…this is from Leadbeater’s book and shows the Eucharistic Edifice constructed by the angels. This spiritual temple holds the power of Our Lord Christ that floods in when the bread and wine are consecrated until it is spread abroad about our world for the help of all humanity.

I’d like to share bits and pieces of Leadbeater’s words with you. First:

Be it understood, then, that the Angel of the Eucharist erects for us what is called a thought-form of subtle matter, inside which the divine force can be stored, and can accumulate until it can be directed and used. The chief object of the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist is to offer an opportunity for an especial downpouring of divine force from the very highest levels, and to provide such a vehicle for that force as may enable those Angel-helpers to use it for certain definite purposes in our physical world.

So, here is built that spiritual temple, by the Angels, with the subtle matter of the higher worlds, the astral, the lower mental, the higher mental, and so on. Leadbeater goes on…

Sometimes, though rarely, this hidden side of religious Services may be seen in full activity, and no one who has even once had the privilege of seeing such a splendid manifestation as this can for a moment doubt that the hidden side of a Church Service is of an importance infinitely greater than anything purely physical.

Such an one would see the dazzling blue spire or dome of the highest type of astral matter rushing upwards into the sky, far above the image of it in stone that sometimes crowns the physical edifice in which the worshippers are gathered. They would see the blinding glory that pours down through it and spreads out like a great flood of living light over all the surrounding region.

Of the angels in general, Leadbeater says:

There are many orders and races of these radiant non-human spirits, and most of them have at the present stage of human evolution but little connection with mankind. Certain types, however, are ever ready to take part in religious ceremonies, not only for the pleasure of doing a good action but because such work offers them the best possible opportunity for progress. Four times in the course of the Eucharistic Service does the Priest call upon the Holy Angels for their help, and we may be well assured that he never calls in vain, for a link with these celestial hosts is one of the advantages that are conferred upon him at his Ordination. On this occasion he invokes what is commonly called the Angel of the Eucharist, whose special work in connection with it is to assist in the building of the Edifice.

Leadbeater then goes into details of how the Angel of the Eucharist forms the Eucharistic Edifice using the Priest’s and our words, prayers, feelings, thoughts, aspirations, the music-all of the matter of the higher realms. Here is one description Leadbeater gives of the work the Angel performs at the Sursum Corda, where the Priest intones: “Lift up your hearts” and the congregation responds: “We lift them up unto the Lord,” and so on.

The Angel of the Eucharist seizes at the same time the lovely music-form and the mental force put forth by the celebrant, and sends them sweeping down the church with a splendid gesture of supreme command, and as the response of the people comes swirling back like a great rush of living fire, the Angel whirls it all upward in a mighty soaring flame, which fills the dome of the Eucharistic Edifice and streams upwards through the lantern into space.

Leadbeater details the rest of the Eucharist, as the Directing Angel of the First Ray takes over where the Angel of the Eucharist left off, and also talks of the work done by the Angel of the Presence, who transfers Christ’s power into the elements of bread and wine at the moment of the Consecration.

The Angels are here, they work for and with us, and they are evolving-just as we are doing-on their own line of evolution. We owe them a debt of gratitude, for our world would be a less fair place without the help they give us, without the radiance they bring to our churches. The study of the invisible help we get is fascinating, and I could have spent many more hours than I did in researching for this talk. Suffice it to say that we are surrounded by them at all times, and especially here and now for the Eucharist. They also appear for the Healing Service when the Priest calls for the specific help of the Holy Archangel Raphael.

I would like to close with some words that came from an Angel to Geoffrey Hodson, another clairvoyant Liberal Catholic, a priest. Hodson related the Angel’s words in The Inner Side of Church Worship:

There is an order of Angels attached to the Christian Church, who, being dedicated to the service of Christ, and serving as channels and conservers of His blessing and His power, attend every service held in His name. Filled with His love and compassion, they seek to bear those priceless gifts to the souls of men; at the great celebration of the mystery of the bread and wine they come, that every thirsting soul shall receive according to his need. Men know and see them not, and so the Angel servers pass unnoticed and unknown. In the religion of the future they will emerge from their invisibility, and men will see them face to face. Between the present blindness and the future knowledge is a yawning chasm, which only those who have been taught the deeper truths of religion and of life can bridge.

The angel continues:

When you enter a church you are in the presence of the Angelic hosts; turn your thoughts to them, therefore inviting them to share your worship and your praise of Him who is the Teacher both of Angels and of men. Release your minds from your material concerns, that they may become alert, watchful, and alive to the subtler forces of the church service. Strive to exalt your consciousness into recognition of the splendor and beauty of God’s answer to your prayers, that you may more deeply reverence Him.

If the gulf between the past and the future is to be bridged, religion must become real; Christ and His Angels must be known as living truths, as unfading realities, and worship must be full of joy. The “thousand altars” of His faith must be approached with reverence and awe. Human life and human conduct must be made worthy of the privilege, so inexpressibly great, of that Presence ever in its midst. Every day must indeed become a holy day, every hour a holy hour, because of the knowledge of His divine companionship.

Then shall the human race move forward into the next cycle of the mighty spiral of its evolutionary path. As humankind progresses, the Angels shall travel side by side with them singing songs of celestial beauty and joy.

And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons in one God, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty, power and dominion, now and for evermore.

Amen.

Judie A. C. Cilcain

July 6, 2003


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