Writing for a Catholic Audience


For the feast day of Guardian Angels, I not only wish to bless my angel who watches over me day and night, but also to say how grateful I am for being able to write to an audience that is largely Catholic. Not that I don't want to share my faith with non-believers, but it is often an uphill battle simply expressing the simplest explanations of what it is we believe and why we believe.


For instance, when I used to answer questions on Quora.com, I'd often receive belittling responses that completely discarded a Catholic answer to a religious question. Of course I refused to take the active disinterest seriously, but it did begin to weigh on me. Let's take two examples of questions regarding the angels (some good, others not).


Question: "How can one summon an angel?"


I replied: I suppose it best to be clear here, about Catholic teaching on angels: one doesn’t “summon” angels, because they are ever present at our side. Not to mention that a lower person has no right to summon or command a higher level being like an angel.

Prayer or even direct speech/thought is how most saints teach us to communicate with our angels. Saints sometimes got a verbal/aural response or physical manifestation; other times a feeling of warmth and approval or even of danger. Then again, perhaps no feeling at all but rather a realization from faith that your angel is always there listening, whether you sense him or not.

I speak to my angel often, asking him/her to watch over me (more like “help me to follow your guidance…protect me from Satan and his snares…help me complete this task or endure that trial”) and even to share a message with another person’s angel—angels are messengers! It’s not like we engage in conversation. If we did it would probably freak me out! But from Scriptures and Tradition I know my angel cares about me perhaps than I do. And that he protects me from spiritual harm and even physical harm (on occasion). If not, it is an opportunity for me to grow in self-reliance.

There is no magic formula for contacting one’s angel, like: “From the land beyond beyond, from the world past hope and fear, I bid you angel, now appear!” (Poof!) Such play-prayer is absurd, because again, your angel is always with you (unless he/she leaves as a messenger, but because likely angels travel at the speed of thought, practically speaking, my guess is that an angel never leaves one’s side).

There is at least one prayer in Catholic tradition taught to children at an early age with wording that varies):

Four corners to my bed, Four Angels round my head; One to watch and and one to pray, and two to guide my soul away.

Other prayers may simply come spontaneously as one may be moved to speak: “Dear Angel, I love you! I know you love me. Please help me to carry out God’s will with a loving, humble heart.”

Treat your angel with respect and your angel will love you the more. Ignore him and you may become eventually deaf to his spiritual way of communicating.


Responses to my answer:


One person responded to the above with: "no you wrong." I simply wrote: "Okay, I’m wrong. Are you right? Enlighten me." Not a peep. Another person, identifying elsewhere as an atheist, wrote: "Magic isn't real and beliefs are not evidence of anything divine or supernatural." What could I say to enlighten such a closed mind? Sometimes Jesus counsels us to pray and sacrifice for another, sometimes to walk away shaking their dust from your feet. With casual and one-time encounters such as these, what is one to do? I still wonder how to answer that question.


Question: "What are some reasons demons or dark entities sometimes imitate the voice of a young child when trying to communicate?


I replied: There are several reasons demons contact us, all of which boil down to one: to make our life like hell. Misery loves company, as the saying goes. Demons are so wretchedly twisted in their agony and hatred of God, they will resort to whatever tricks their far superior minds can dream up. So, yes, they will entice you with endless promises already knowing what your weaknesses are, which is a form of seduction. They despise God and innocence, so they will imitate a baby or child’s cry, a woman’s call for help—whatever it takes to mislead you to join them. There are no ghosts or spirits other than these fallen angels. Yes, in the Old Testament Saul did speak with his deceased predecessor, Samuel, but that is because the dead are alive only in a different way we have yet to experience. Angels or demons are beings that are without matter; they are spirits, the only kind Scriptures and the Church know about.

Other reasons can be as varied as pretending to want what you want, offering you your heart’s desire, money, sex fame, endless life, popularity, boundless freedom…you get the point.

In the stories about Sherlock Holmes, I enjoy how he doesn’t muddle his mind with mindless miscellany that could distract him from his expertise as a professional sleuth. Most people I admire have a heightened awareness of themselves and reality. If you are about rounding out/completing your life, stay tuned with what is, rather than what someone with a deranged mind wants for you. Focus, remain alert! “Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).


Response to my answer:


"I think your concept of demons comes from Hollywood movies, not real life. I made a mistake trying to communicate with spirits and now the evil ones even answer to my prayers instead of God. They’re not promising me anything but suffering when I die. All they communicate is threats and laughter to back it up. When you die, we will be right there waiting- kind of stuff. After reading Howard Storm’s near death experience and another similar one, I’m starting to get seriously worried where I end up after death. I can’t even pray help from God since He doesn’t answer- it’s the demons instead."


My reply to this person's response: Maybe we’re both a bit off in our perception of demons. They are, after all, devilishly clever. Not to defend myself—who am I but another individual looking for truth—but I’ve read a number of books by exorcists to know I don’t fully understand the reality people suffer. And yet my own brother, addicted to meth and other heavy drugs telling us for years that he is a conduit between God and Satan—man, you can’t make this stuff up!

In spite of that, please don’t let the demons have their way with you. It is in their best interest to convince you that God isn’t listening. It’s in your best interest to ignore them. As long as you draw breath, you have the right to hope and strive for a different reality than the one you suffer. No one should take that from you.


Lessons learned: You can see from this or from your own experience that rejection has its challenges. It is not easy sharing when what you hold dearly is cast aside like pearls to swine. Consequently, I learned with prayer not to take critical or hostile comments personally, having already been warned by Our Lord, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk 10:16). So, I try to stick with the facts, mam, and leave matters at that when possible. Next, I realized that explaining the faith to others is a kind of evangelization, obeying Christ who said "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19). Sometimes obedience is what matters most, so I also learned to focus on the task of expressing truths of the faith clearly as I can, occasionally adding a bit of humor or personal touches in hopes of winning others to the truth. And finally, I realized that it can make a world of difference to one you share the faith with. Whether one's message is accepted or rejected, it has planted a seed, and God makes the seeds grow. Unfortunately, there are seemingly unavoidable occasions of conflict when I am dealing with someone up close and personally, like friends or relatives who become openly hostile about the faith. I've already addressed lessons about that in a former article here, "Thou Shalt Not Kill." And the final lesson I've learned in simply composing this article is that I can and will more consciously turn with thanks to my Angel Guardian for insight and strength. Of course, since we can incidentally be angels of mercy towards one another, I'd like to also express my gratitude for being able to address all of you here informally, with and in our Catholic Faith.

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