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The Farmer And His Friends

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St. Isidore (1070-1130) was a Spanish laborer who was hired as a ploughman on the lands of a wealthy nobleman from Madrid. He worked very hard at his job, yet he never failed to attend daily Mass. Neighbors jealous of his piety accused Isidore to his employer of neglecting his work in order to attend Mass. When the wealthy employer questioned him about it, Isidore replied, “I know that I’m your servant, but I have another Master as well, and I owe Him service and obedience too. If you think you’re cheated because I serve God, please deduct whatever you want from my wages.”
The landowner knew Isidore to be a good and honest man, but he also knew his neighbors looked out for his best interests, so he decided to find out the truth for himself by going to his farm early one morning to observe without Isidore seeing him. When he observed that Isidore didn’t begin work until later in the morning, he went to give the servant a severe rebuke. As he got closer to where Isidore was working, he was surprised to find two strangers in the field with Isidore. Each stranger had a team of white oxen, ploughing on either side of Isidore. As the landowner drew near, both strangers and their oxen disappeared. The landowner asked Isidore, “For God’s sake, man, who were those two men who were ploughing with you just now?”
Isidore replied, “I assure you, Sir, I haven’t seen anyone. I don’t ask anyone for help, except God each morning at Holy Mass.” Then the nobleman understood that the two men he’d seen were angels sent by God to help His servant in return for his hearing Mass so faithfully.
There are three degrees of nature in the world. Ours, the world we see and live in, is called the natural world. That world that is God, the Holy Trinity, is called the supernatural world. But there is a different kind of world for the angels and demons (who are merely the pitiful angels who chose to follow the traitorous Lucifer, or Satan) called the preternatural world. The supernatural is uncreated. The natural is the created world of all that is around us, with mankind being the highest form of creation in the natural world. The preternatural world — inclusive of both the angelic and demonic — is also created by God, but it’s higher in the order of creation than our natural world.
The angelic world serves two purposes. The angels’ first purpose is to love, adore, and praise God every moment of their existence. The second purpose of the angels is to serve as messengers from God to man, and to serve us as God so directs them to do. There is a parallel between the preternatural world and the natural world in that we are also supposed to love, adore, and praise God every moment of our existence, as well as serve others for the sake of God in the name of Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31-46).
Another parallel is found with the demons. In the preternatural world, demons are responsible for great evil in our world, most especially by tempting us to offend God, and they are eternally punished for their rejection of God, just as we will be punished with the same eternal suffering if we die in a state of rejection of God, that is, a state of mortal sin.
When it comes to how the angels serve man, they demonstrate a true, perfect love for us. The angels pray for us, which we learn from the vision of Zechariah: “Then the angel of the Lord said, ‘O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these seventy years?’ And the Lord answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me” (Zech. 1:12-13). We also see this in the encounter between the Archangel Raphael and Tobit:
“And so, when you and your daughter-in-law Sarah prayed, I brought a reminder of you prayer before the Holy One; and when you buried the dead, I was likewise present with you” (Tobit 12:12). Christ Himself tells us that they have an interest in us, because He said, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). In another place He warns us not to be guilty of scandalizing those who believe in Him: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 18:10).
The angels also act as messengers from God to us. There are many, many passages in Sacred Scripture where God sent His angels to act as messengers to us from Him. One of my personal favorites is found in Luke 1:19, when God told Zechariah of the coming of his only child, John the Baptist: “I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.”
Finally, the angels also serve us with their protection and aid, as in the story of St. Isidore. The entire Book of Tobit in the Old Testament is all about how the Archangel Raphael helped Tobias. Jesus implies the existence of guardian angels, as was noted in Matt. 18:19 quoted earlier: “…for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
The Church has taught from the very beginning that we have angels surrounding us to act as protectors and shepherds to help us always live for God. “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’ Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 336).
We are surrounded by both angels and demons (i.e., those angels who rebelled against God), and St. Paul talks of the demons we war against every day: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
There is a constant war going on around us whether we are awake or asleep, conscious of it or unconscious of it. The preternatural world of angels and demons wages war without ceasing, and they do so for only one thing: the eternal destiny of our souls. This is how important you are to God, that He would have His angels constantly do battle with the demons to help you make the right decisions and avoid offending Him with sin.
Spend time every day with your guardian angel. Talk to him. Over time, you can become attuned to him and listen to what he has to tell you. I talk to my angel every single day, multiple times each day. When I’m in my car, those who pass me on the highway must think I’m crazy, because I am usually carrying on a conversation with my angel. They pass by and see me talking to an empty car. It’s not empty though.
Not only is my angel present with me, but there are demons there trying to distract me and keep me from conversing with and listening to my angel. This spiritual warfare we constantly face is one that ends only in death. Rather than take our guardian angel for granted or ignore him, we need to thank him and ask for his help as often as possible.
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