To mark the feast day of St Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, instead of pointing readers in the direction of a single book, we're taking a wider view and look at new and some favourite literature on angels to help you with your angelic research and help us investigate this unique source of assistance and consolation.
According to Catholic teaching everyone has their own guardian angel, as does each household, town and country, and yet these days angels are often pictured as innocuous plump cherubs lolling around on clouds, rather than the powerful figure of St Michael slaying the devil.
The feast day of St Michael, Gabriel and Raphael is an opportunity to review our acquaintance with the angels, and Fr Paul O’Sullivan’s classic book All About the Angels (Tan Books, $25.90) is a good place to start. His foreword ‘Why ignore our best friends’ gives you an idea of the importance of the angels in his estimation. After some accounts of angelic appearances in modern times, Fr O’Sullivan looks at the various characteristics of the angels (for example, what do they do? How much power do they have? And even, how do they move?).
For the sceptical reader, he provides sources of our knowledge about angels, and also adds a wonderful passage from the writings of St John Henry Newman, not known for his gullibility, on the operations of angels. He gives a rundown on all the angels who appear in the Bible, and concentrates on Sts Michael, Raphael and Gabriel.
For those with a special interest in St Michael, the scourge of the Devil, there is a booklet about him (St Michael the Archangel, Tan Books, $9.95), giving all the details of his interventions in history, and a good selection of prayers as well. There is also one about St Raphael, the patron of marriage, healing, happy meetings – see the story Tobias in the Old Testament on the reason for this – and of travel (St Raphael, Tan Books, $8.00).
For information about the guardian angels, there are a couple of great resources. Tan Books has a booklet called The Guardian Angels: Our Heavenly Companions ($9.00) which gives a complete rundown on exactly what our guardian angels can do for us, and what they have done for various saints; it also has a useful collection of prayers.
Then there is a book which although quite old-fashioned, continues to be read and loved, as it is such an intriguing story about a young girl in Brazil who could see and hear her guardian angel. She tells about how the guardian angel protected her from various sins, and helped her to avoid temptation and lead a better life (Under Angel Wings: The True Story of a Young Girl and her Guardian Angel, Tan Books, $25.95).
There are other books too, well worth reading, such as The Angels: Help from on High, by Marianne Trouve, (Pauline Books, $16.95) which tells more stories about angels and what they have done for us, with a lovely section on Our Lady and the Angels, and an excellent devotions and prayers section. Companion to the Angels by J B Midgley in the CTS Companions series (Catholic Truth Society, $4.95) gives a succinct rundown of the history of the angels from the Bible till today, the feasts of the Archangels and some prayers in a nice compact booklet.
Melbourne Catholic11 February 2021