As I am visiting in the area of St. Mary of the Angels in London, I was taken by the main window, which depicts the great angels mentioned in Scripture, plus one.
Now, I have a two-fold purpose in writing this post. Firstly, I want to clarify, as I have in the past in classes, that the Catholic Church has been clear as to which angels we may venerate and invoke. The list is very small. Only those angels who are specifically mentioned in the Catholic Bible are "approved." We have the great Hebrew heritage in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, the two parts of the Canon of the Bible, which indicate that the three angels, who we call saints, are to be venerated. These are Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. I can write about each one at length in another post. But, today, I want to outline and present the argument which the Catholic Church teaches, that angels, as servants and messengers of God, can be honored by these names. The Old Testament and the New Testament give us these names, in many places, including the Books of Daniel, Tobit, and, of course, the Gospels.
At St. Mary's of the Angels. a fourth angel, Uriel, glows from the window, holding a trumpet. Now, the Orthodox venerate Uriel, as do some of the Jews, but Catholics, as this angel is not specifically part of our Tradition, usually do not. I was glad to see this spirit in the window.
Uriel is mentioned in the apocryphal 4th Book of Esdras and here is a quotation from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The body of the Fourth Book, the unity of which appears to be unquestionable, is made up of seven visions which Esdras is supposed to have seen at Babylon, the thirtieth year after the destruction of Jerusalem (the date given is wrong by about a century).
- In the first vision (iii, 1-v, 20), Esdras is lamenting over the affliction of his people. Why does not Godfulfil his promises? Is not Israel the elect nation, and better, despite her "evil heart", than her heathenneighbours? The angel Uriel chides Esdras for inquiring into things beyond his understanding; the "prophet" is told that the time that is past exceeds the time to come, and the signs of the end are given him.
- In another vision (v, 21-vi, 34), he learns, with new signs of the end, why God "doeth not all at once".
- Then follows (vi, 35-ix, 25) a glowing picture of the Messianic age. "My son" shall come in his glory, attended by those who did not taste death, Moses, Henoch, Elias, and Esdras himself; they shall reign 400 years, then "my son" and all the living shall die; after seven days of "the old silence", theResurrection and the Judgment.
- Next (ix, 26-x, 60) Esdras beholds, in the appearance of a woman mourning for her son who died on his wedding day, an apocalyptic description of the past and future of Jerusalem.
- This vision is followed by another (xi, 1-xii, 39) representing the Roman Empire, under the figure of an eagle, and by a third (xiii) describing the rise of the Messianic kingdom.
- The last chapter (xiv) narrates how Esdras restored the twenty-four books of the Old Testament that were lost, and wrote seventy books of mysteries for the wise among the people.
Now, even though the Orthodox, Anglicans and the Jews still honor Uriel, that this Angel is found in a window in the Western, Latin Roman Catholic Church is rare. There are many windows of Uriel in the Anglican post-Reformation windows in England. I found one medieval window online on one of my favorite websites, Vidimus, which is on my blog list. It is from a church in Hereford. I do not have a photo of the window in St. Mary of the Angels, which would be a photo worth having.
I was surprised. For the Anglicans, this angel is a patron of Confirmation, but not for the Roman Catholics. Uriel has been picked up by many authors in the occult as a patron and one finds this name even in television shows. Be careful.
The Second point I want to make is very serious. There is a "church" in America, based on New Age heresies, which honors an angel named Ariel. There is no angel in the Catholic Tradition by that name, although it is used, of course, in literature. A church in the Quad-City area of Iowa and Illinois claims that Ariel has appeared and given special, that is Gnostic, knowledge to the people of that congreagation. Ariel is not an angel of the main Judeo-Christian tradition, but part of cabal-ism and other forms of mysticism, which are not Christian.
Confusion reigns. A daughter of a friend of mine was given a statue, bought at a Catholic religious supply shop, labeled "Ariel, Patron of Confirmation". NO. NO, NO.
I explained that this angel, especially in the New Age mysticism of the local church in her area, could very well be an evil demon, or, at best, a hallucination. That someone is making statues, labeling these as partons of Confirmation, and selling these in a Catholic shop, makes me wonder as to the intelligence or real spirituality of the makers, suppliers, and sellers.
Be on your guard for false teachings. Again, New Age groups are susceptible to this type of manifestation, as these "chuches" tend towards Gnosticism.
Again, do not buy anything "iffy" just because it is popular. I have written on this before, but the great angels in the window at St. Mary of the Angels reminded me both of the glory and the dangers of angels, of whom there are, dear readers, two varieties-those from heaven and those from hell.