Learning About Angels
We will enjoy looking at the paintings of angels in Hark! The Herald Angels Sing in our class.
All you holy angels and archangels,
thrones and dominations,
principalities and powers,
the virtues of Heaven,
cherubim and seraphim,
praise the Lord forever.
Advent is a wonderful time to think and learn about angels, as we prepare for the Nativity. The angel, Gabriel, has come earlier to give momentous news to Mary and then the angel of the Lord comes to Joseph in a dream. Angels attend the birth of Christ in the Nativity. We have both choirs of angels, and hosts of angels attending to the Holy Family. An angel warns Joseph that he must take Mary and Baby Jesus and flee from Herod’s reach. In our homes, as we decorate Christmas trees, many of us have an angel at the top of our trees.
The children and I learn about angels together, in our classroom. We know that angels are pure spirits created by God. We still need to work on the groups of angels and their hierarchy. Most all of the students know the “Guardian Angel Prayer” at this point. The list below will add new ideas and information for us to discuss in class and at home.
Nine Choirs of Angels
This is in order, from greatest to least:
*Seraphim (“…were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered.b”)
*Cherubim ( “…manlike in appearance and double-winged and were guardians of God’s glory.”)
Source for List: Faith & Life Parish Catechist Manual * Page 19
The other day I wondered: “If angels don’t have gender, why do they all have male names.” This is what I learned:
Angels’ names translated to English (and assumably other modern languages) are common names. However, in the language of the people of the Bible, the names of angels are more like titles. For example, Emmanuel (God is with us), Rafael (Healed of God), Michael (Who is like God?), Gabriel (Man of God) all end in the letters, “el.” This is a reference to God.
We learn about angels from scripture, which we “accept and venerate.” As a teacher, I want to share the wonder of “The Mystery of Faith.” It is beautiful to see the children, who have a great capacity to develop their spiritual lives, process concepts that are new and abstract–such as angels. I love the beautiful paintings of angels with glorious wings, feathers and all. The images help us to feel awe for the spiritual messengers of God–who is also a pure spirit. We’ll keep learning together.
Pope Francis lovingly answers a young boy’s question about angel wings:
Question: “Dear Pope Francis, My mum is in Heaven. Will she grow angel wings?” From Luca
Answer: Dear Luca, No, no, no! Your mom is in heaven–beautiful, splendid and full of light. She hasn’t grown wings. She is still your mom, the person you know, but she is more radiant than ever.”
From Dear Pope Francis The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World (pages 40-41)
Be Inspired Through Glorious Music
“Angels We Have Heard on High”
Panis Angelicus Means “Angelic Bread”