Today, October 2, at my blog A Nun’s Life – anunslife.org
Thank you Sister Julie,
What do you think about Joan’s answer to the question by Tom Cloutier, SFO “Can we give names to our angles?”. On Catholic forums, there had been quite few threads on this.
Joan answered: " … If it were up to me, Tom, I would continue to suggest that your students name their angels. They need all the help they can get in today’s world."
Joan answered: " … If it were up to me, Tom, I would continue to suggest that your students name their angels. They need all the help they can get in today’s world."**
**How would you feel if you were always called by the wrong name, especially one someone else gave you?
Would you be likely to answer cheerfully?
OTOH, Guardian Angel is a TITLE and office given by the Lord Himself to a particular angel for YOU.**
Somehow I think a person’s Guardian Angel is above being offended by being called an “incorrect” name. Course, I have no facts to back this up, however Fr. Holou???(Sp?) and Fr. Pacwa agreed on this weeks EWTN Live that angels don’t have emotions, since they are pure spirit and without bodies (bodies being directly connected to emotional reactions, they said).
Honestly, I’m not really that familiar with angel protocol and was glad to have Joan visit and offer her expertise and reflections. I tend to agree with those who have posted here that angels probably don’t really care about what name we give them but that we are seeking a relationship with them in order to grow in our relationship with God and with others.
I think Joan is right in that whatever is going to help young people authentically connect with God and our faith – even if it is discovering a name for their angel – is a good thing.
I’ve been thinking more about this and have an addendum to my earlier response. As I noted on my blog, I didn’t realize there was a lot of debate about this but, after scanning Catholic forums and websites, I found diverse opinions on this. Honestly it was never something I thought about. I’m good with the angels who already have names but never really felt a need to name others.
In the broader tradition of theology, giving a name to someone or something signified both a personal relationship. Recall how Moses asked to know God’s name and God responded, “I AM”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about God’s name:
“God revealed himself to his people Israel by making his name known to them. A name expresses a person’s essence and identity and the meaning of this person’s life. God has a name; he is not an anonymous force. To disclose one’s name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally.” (CCC 203)
“In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (”I AM HE WHO IS”, “I AM WHO AM” or “I AM WHAT I AM”), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the “hidden God”, his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.” (206)
It is our tradition to use God’s name with the utmost respect and love. I think this also applies to how we call upon angels. For me, if God wants an angel to reveal its name to me, then that’s cool. But personally I’m okay with embracing God’s mystery and knowing and loving God’s messengers in my life without necessarily knowing their name.
You mentioned on your blog that Opus Angelorum may have contributed to the tendency not to to name angels. My guess is that the document “Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy” put out by the Congregation for Divine Worship has had some influence:
The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.
God bless you,
Thanks, Verbo Caro. It was Joan who had brought up Opus Angelorum. I never heard of that organization until Joan mentioned it. But I so appreciate the document that you mentioned from the CDW. That’s exactly what I was looking for in my surfing this morning and I’m going to link to it on my blog. Blessings, VC.
You’re welcome! It is a very interesting document.
Thank you, Sister Julie and Verbum Caro, for your answer.
I don’t see how you could be an angel and not have emotions . That seems very contrary to Biblical evidence . . . Satan is said to hate the Church. That’s a pretty strong emotion. In Ezekiel, at one point (or maybe it was one of the other prophetic books), God comforts an angel that is full of sadness over the state of Jerusalem. God wouldn’t have to comfort the angel if the being lacked emotions.
I bet I could think of more to base my opinion on this on. But honestly, what would we be if we lacked emotions? That would be terrible to even contemplate.
God is supposed to be spirit as well. Did he lack emotion prior to the Incarnation? That would be completely disconnected from all Old Testament evidence that shows incredibly powerful emotions in God.
however Fr. Holou???(Sp?) and Fr. Pacwa agreed on this weeks EWTN Live that angels don’t have emotions, since they are pure spirit and without bodies (bodies being directly connected to emotional reactions, they said)
**Read the account of the annunciation to St. Zachariah in Luke 1.
The Archangel Gabriel was certainly offended when Zachariah did not believe him.**