Seven Angels Before the Throne of God
The seven “elite” angels form a privileged circle in close proximity to Almighty God in heaven. The Archangel Raphael expressly stated to Tobias that he himself was one of the seven:
“I am Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.” –Tobias 12: 15
Father Faber, a British born theologian and hymn writer, refers to this when he sings of St. Raphael:
“He is glorious midst the Angels,
Midst the highest there in Heaven,
Standing almost in the furnace,
Of God’s selected Seven!”
In the Apocalypse, John the Revelator mentions the seven angels:
“Grace be unto you and peace from Him that is, and that was and that is to come, and from the Seven Spirits which are before the Throne.” –Revelation 1: 4
When Luciel (Bearer of Light) rebelled against God and became Lucifer (Prince of Darkness) one entire choir of angels followed him and was lost to heaven. Many angels from other choirs also followed him in his rebellion:
“And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels: And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” –Revelation 12:7-9
Seven loyal angels from the second lowest choir, so outraged by the terrible offense to the dignity of God, positioned themselves between the Throne of God and the infernal offenders, prepared to defend the honor and dignity of God. They did this in spite of their inferiority to Lucifer and his legions.
God was so moved by their heroic love He elevated them, enriching them with many new gifts and graces. So lofty was their new office that they were given the privilege of standing eternally before the Throne of God to carry out the Divine Will.
The seven now represent the highest Princes of the Heavenly court. Although their most important occupation is the contemplation and praise of the Divine Essence, they are also assigned to special duties. For instance, St. Paul expressly states that they are all “ministering spirits.”
The Abbe Boudon, a prolific French writer of the 17th century, writes that we should invoke these seven “Princes of Paradise” that they may obtain for us the grace to avoid the seven deadly sins and that they may enrich us with the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.
An ancient belief states that these seven angels actually guard the seven sacred sacraments of the Catholic Church, which some writers describe as “vases of the Precious Blood.” This gives us the consoling image of these seven glorious angels holding aloft these chalices of salvation.
“The Sacraments,” writes the eminent Oratorian, “while they express a most wonderful part of the Divine Mind, seem also to imply the Precious Blood. According to the economy of redemption, the Sacraments form the system by which the Precious Blood traverses the whole Church, gifts it with unity and informs it with supernatural energy and life . . . They are fountains of happiness to all the earth. Who can tell what songs of human goodness are being sung this hour in the ear of God, because of the joyous inspirations of the Sacraments? Out of Himself there is no beauty like it, unless it is the jubilee of the angels.”
It is said that everything in the universe is a source of joy to the holy angels. They have the gift to recognize the accomplishment of that which God has fore-ordained; they know that God derives honor and glory, and the angels rejoice in seeing how He is glorified in all.
This is the secret of true contentment — because we think of ourselves and not of God, that we are troubled and dissatisfied. If only we could take the angelic view, nothing would disturb us and we, too, would always rejoice.
Tradition tells us that these seven angels exult whenever one of the children of men joins their company. They welcome at the threshold of Heaven every soul that enters. The happiness of all derives a fresh jolt of energy from each addition to their choirs and their song of triumph rises louder before the Throne of God.
We should imitate their great-hearted charity and emulate that love which will make us sincerely share the joy and success of our neighbor.
“Yes, in that Heart Divine
the Angels bright
Find, through eternal years,
still new delight.”