Sunday, August 02, 2009

Q112 A2: Whether all the angels are sent in ministry?

No. Some have said that according to the general law the superior angels are not sent, but only the inferior, yet that sometimes, by Divine dispensation, the superior angels also are sent, because God can immediately reveal things to men without the help of the angels, and the superior angels without the inferior, as regards corporeal things, for the sake of a higher order, that is, according as it is suitable for the manifestation of grace.

Quidam dixerunt quod, secundum communem legem, superiores non mittuntur, sed inferiores tantum, sed ex aliqua dispensatione divina, interdum etiam superiores mittuntur, quia Deus immediate hominibus aliqua revelare posset, non mediantibus Angelis, et superiores Angeli, non mediantibus inferioribus, in rebus corporalibus aliquando ex divina dispensatione receditur, propter altiorem ordinem, secundum scilicet quod expedit ad gratiae manifestationem.

According to Dionysius (Coel. Hier. xiii), the angel who was sent to purify the prophet's lips [Isaiah 6:6-7] was one of the inferior order; but was called a "Seraph," that is, "kindling " in an equivocal sense, because he came to "kindle" the lips of the prophet. It may also be said that the superior angels communicate their own proper gifts whereby they are denominated, through the ministry of the inferior angels. Thus one of the Seraphim is described as purifying by fire the prophet's lips, not as if he did so immediately, but because an inferior angel did so by his power; as the Pope is said to absolve a man when he gives absolution by means of someone else.

Secundum Dionysium, quod ille Angelus qui missus est ad purgandum labia prophetae, fuit de inferioribus Angelis; sed dictus est "Seraphim", idest "incendens", aequivoce, propter hoc quod venerat ad "incendendum" labia prophetae. Vel dicendum quod superiores Angeli communicant propria dona, a quibus denominantur, mediantibus inferioribus Angelis. Sic igitur unus de Seraphim dictus est purgasse incendio labia prophetae, non quia hoc ipse immediate fecerit, sed quia inferior Angelus virtute eius hoc fecit. Sicut Papa dicitur absolvere aliquem, etiam si per alium officium absolutionis impendat.