My favorite catechism is the Catechism of St. Pius X, which was originally written for the people of the Diocese of Rome ~ 130 years ago and then became popular throughout Italy and Europe. It is written in a familiar Q&A style and its answers are thorough and precise. (It’s also a favorite of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who endorsed it in an interview speaking as Cardinal Ratzinger.) This week the calendar includes two angelic feasts: (1) Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Rafael, Archangels on Sept. 29 and (2) the Holy Guardian Angels on Oct. 2. So we conducted a brief, breakfast-table catechesis on the Angels this morning via St. Pius X’s catechism:
13 Q. Which are the noblest of God’s creatures?
A. The noblest creatures created by God are the Angels.
14 Q. Who are the Angels?
A. The Angels are intelligent and purely spiritual creatures.
15 Q. Why did God create the Angels?
A. God created the Angels so as to be honoured and served by them, and to give them eternal happiness.
16 Q. What form and figure have the Angels?
A. The Angels have neither form nor material figure of any kind, because they are pure spirits created by God in such a way as to exist without having to be united to a body.
17 Q. Why then are the angels represented under sensible forms?
A. The Angels are represented under sensible forms: (1) As a help to our imagination; (2) Because they have thus appeared many times to men, as we read in Sacred Scripture.
18 Q. Were all the angels faithful to God?
A. No, the Angels were not all faithful to God, many of them through pride claimed to be His equals and independent of Him — for which sin they were banished for ever from Paradise and condemned to hell.
19 Q. What are the Angels called who were banished for ever from Paradise and condemned to hell?
A. The Angels banished for ever from Paradise and condemned to hell are called demons, and their chief is called Lucifer or Satan.
20 Q. Can the demons do us any harm?
A. Yes, the demons can do us great harm both in soul and body, especially by tempting us to sin, provided God permits them to do so.
21 Q. Why do they tempt us?
A. The demons tempt us because of the envy they bear us, which makes them desire our eternal damnation; and because of their hatred of God. whose image is reflected in us. God on the other hand permits these temptations in order that we may overcome them by His grace, and thus practise virtue and acquire merit for Heaven.
22 Q. How are temptations conquered?
A. Temptations are conquered by watchfulness, prayer and Christian mortification.
23 Q. What are the angels called who remained faithful to God?
A. The Angels who remained faithful to God are called the good Angels, heavenly Spirits, or simply Angels.
24 Q. What became of the Angels who remained faithful to God?
A. The Angels who remained faithful to God were confirmed in grace, for ever enjoy the vision of God, love Him, bless Him, and praise Him eternally.
25 Q. Does God use the Angels as His ministers?
A. Yes, God uses the Angels as His ministers, and especially does He entrust to many of them the office of acting as our guardians and protectors.
26 Q. Should we have a particular devotion to our Guardian Angel?
A. Yes, we should have a particular devotion to our Guardian Angel; we should honour him, invoke his aid, follow his inspirations, and be grateful to him for the continual assistance he affords us.