angels in Scripture and tradition

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No matter what your faith (Catholic, Quaker, Church of England, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, agnostic, atheist of anything else), it pays not to waste your time and money on buying so-called ‘New Age rubbish in shops’. Not only is most of it badly made and over-packaged in plastic, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could be in danger of ‘playing around with energies’ that could do harm.

There’s nothing wrong with not following a particular religion (nor seeking spiritual wisdom through books by wise writers), but priests in England say they roll their eyes when they see ‘spiritual evenings’ being advertised in local village halls, as it usually means they will be getting phone calls from people who have been seeing ‘strange happenings’ after buying anything from pendulums to tarot cards to crystals (nothing wrong with natural crystals, but most are unethically mined and do not exist to ‘grant wishes’).

If you visit a high street bookstore (say ‘The Works‘ where all the unsold books end up before being pulped), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a book of real wisdom. There are many good books out there by authors of every faith, offering help to find spiritual peace. And there are also (a very few) genuine gifted healers who are safe enough to use pendulums and tarot cards (which were both incidentally used by The Vatican to find lost treasures years ago) as they know what they are doing. But for the rest of us, it’s best to avoid books and ‘gift sets’ that just encourage people who don’t know what they are doing, to get more confused on what they believe. Just buy yourself a few good books that ‘sing to your soul’ and be done with it.

should you communicate with your Angels?

This is an example of ‘selling to gullible souls’ these days. We are told things like ‘look for white feathers’ on the ground (leading some bereaved people to wonder why they have not seen white feathers – which likely are from seagulls!) Someone’s genuine search for spiritual peace is being turned into a massive consumerist plastic-laden business, just like everything else.

Angels and Saints is the ultimate guide to what angels really all are about, by a professor of Catholic theology. Learn who the angels are, whether you have a Guardian angel (both Testaments suggest strong evidence that you do!), what the Catholic church teaches about angels, learn of their ranks and whether you should fear ‘fallen angels’.

Author Mary Drahos writes of the modern tendency to ‘talk to angels’, which has resulted in many people setting up novelty shops selling trinkets and cherubs to the anxious masses. But she writes that the issue is that people now seem to just ‘want angels to help them’ rather than the old-school rules (of any religion) that you often get back what you give out. She writes:

For those who choke too easily on God and His rules, angels are the handy compromise, all fluff and meringue, kind, nonjudgement. And they avail themselves to everyone, like aspirin’.

In fact, angels are not ‘replacements for God’, but are beings who serve Jesus Christ. They never existed to find parking spaces for people, or grant you access to your dream soulmate or job. Just like Catholic saints, angels are meant to help us look at how we live our lives, and grow spiritually to serve God and others. No matter what your faith, it’s always good to apply the classic words of Jesus – ‘By their fruits you shall know them’. If an angel shop owner or therapist is trying to sell you lots of plastic tat to ‘find inner peace’, it’s likely not authentic. Don’t get scared by religious zealots who try to scare people out of exploring other faiths, but don’t fall for the consumerist ‘angel business’ either.

There’s barely a town in Ireland that doesn’t have an angel therapist, dedicated to putting you in touch with your own winged messengers, who can solve everything from birth trauma to getting a parking place outside Tesco. The reason this bogus spirituality-lite appeals to the vulnerable or ignorant is that it offers the bliss of religious experience, without personal effort. It usually comes packaged with a convenient kind of narcissism, which ‘as long as you are true to yourself’, you are deemed to be a good person. And because it’s essentially meaningless, it fits in nicely with your existing beliefs and prejudices. It’s religion, with all the trouble taken out. Fionola Meredith

Anne’s amazing devotional art on angels

Anne Neilson angels

Fine artist Anne Neilson has personally experienced the presence of God’s angels and shares inspiring stories of hers and other encounters. Each entry recounts a story of an angel among us, accompanied by Scripture and reminders of God’s love in the promise of angels around us.  Anne’s faith radiates from every canvas of her life. She believes each of us begins life with a blank canvas, and each trial, joy and heartache leaves an explosion of colour to shape us. Allow God to take over as the Master artist, to find beauty wading through the mess. In this beautiful memoir, Anne shares personal stories on why her faith is so important to her, and resonates in all her work. Creations are messy, but the Divine artist never fails to reveal a masterpiece.

Entertaining Angels is a beautiful book, with amazing stories alongside breathtaking art that will remind you clearly of the words of Scripture: Don’t forget to show hospitality to strongers, for some who have done this, have entertained Angels, without realising!’

Anne Neilson’s Christmas Angels is a reminder to focus on the wonder of your Saviour’s birth and messenger who heralded the good news to shepherds. Daily devotions usher you into the beauty and sacredness of the Christmas season, with art, Bible verses, poetry, prayers and personal reflections. There are devotions for each day of Advent, organised weekly by themes of hope, love, joy and peace.

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