Friday, February 19, 2016

Angels and Saints

I heard someone say once that if we met a priest or an angel who would we greet first? The answer was the priest. When I heard this I was shocked, believing that an angel is higher than any human. However, the person did explain that a priest, during the Divine Liturgy holds Christ in his hands, giving a certain blessing to him and therefore to the whole of humanity. That is why we kiss a priest’s hand, in order to receive the blessing he holds, when holding Jesus in the Church. Let us not forget that the Son of God received human nature, blessing it, sanctifying it and saving it. St John of Damascus reaches the same conclusion, explaining it a bit differently:

‘Our nature is a little lower than the angels because of death and the grossness of the body, but through God’s favour and union with him it has become greater than the angles. For the angels stand with fear and trembling before [the nature] seated on the throne of glory in Christ, and they will stand trembling at the judgement. It is not said of them in Scripture that they will be seated together with, or be partakers of, the divine glory (“for they are all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation”), not that they will reign together, nor that they will be glorified together, nor that they will sit at the Father’s table, but the saints are sons of God, sons of the kingdom and heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ. Therefore, I honour the saints and I glorify them together with Christ as his slaves and friends and fellow-heirs: slaves by nature, friends by choice, and sons and heirs by divine grace, as the Lord said to the Father.’ (St John of Damascus, Treatise III, On the Divine Images, 26).   

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