Mike Aquilina

Angel Music

Sunday May 24th 2009, 3:55 am

Though oceans away, I’m excited to learn that Stateside readers are encountering noted author David Mills‘ review of my book Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts. It apparently appeared in the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper, and included these musical words, among others:

Mike Aquilina’s new book, Angels of God, explains why angels are good news for us … Aquilina notes, “Our fellowship with them is not an ornament on our religion; it’s a life skill.”

Angels of God begins by describing the angels of the Bible and how the Church has drawn out the biblical teaching in its understanding of the orders of angels and the work of guardian angels, and of the angels’ place in the Mass. It then describes the three angels whose names we know — Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael — before discussing briefly the right response to the fallen angels. It closes with instruction on how we should “walk in the company of angels.” The book includes a short appendix of prayers to and poems about the angels.

Aquilina … gives an exceptionally clear and accessible introduction to the subject, but that is not all. He shows us that the world is a much happier place when you remember the angels, not least the one looking over your shoulder, and it is a safer place when you remember the fallen angels who wish you harm. The study of the angels is a very practical doctrine.

How is it practical? Let me give just two examples. First, it helps us better understand the Bible. Many of us tend to blank out all the times the angels are included — and they are included a lot — as if they were merely decorative. But they’re not.

For example, how many of us have shot through “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” with no thought at all about who is it doing God’s will in heaven? With at most the vague thought that we are asking that things be better here on earth?

Actually thinking of all the hosts of angels serving God in perfect love and freedom, each doing his part, like a vast chorus (angels do sing a lot), gives us an inspiring vision of what the Church should be and how each of us should be living before the Lord. It changes the way you say that prayer. At least it did for me.

And there’s more. Playing off the mistake that “heaven” refers to outer space and not “the realm of the spirits,” Aquilina notes that “We’re praying not that we might be more predictable, like planets and asteroids, but that we might be as morally sure and true as the angels are.” Thinking about the angels gives us a more precise idea of what we’re asking for …

Angels of God introduces the subject very well, but that is not its only value. By showing us how the angels serve God, and especially how some of them serve God by serving us, it encourages us to serve Him better, because we know we have friends in high places.