The Annotated Catechism for Autistic Thinking
Lesson Four of the Baltimore Catechism turns now toward God’s creatures. The first two questions review:
32. Q: Who created Heaven, Earth and all things?
33. Q: How did God create Heaven and Earth?
A: God created Heaven and earth from nothing, by His word; that is, a single act of His will.
Now it gets a little more interesting.
34. Q: Which are the chief creatures of God?
A: The chief creatures of God are angels and humankind.
35. Q: What are angels?
A: Angels are pure spirits without a body, created to adore and enjoy God in Heaven.
36. Q: Were angels created for any other purpose?
A: The angels were also created to assist before the Throne of God and to minister unto Him; they have often been sent as messengers from God to humanity; and are also appointed our guardians.
37. Q: Were the angels, as God created them, good and happy?
A: The angels, as God created them, were good and happy.
38. Q: Did all the angels remain good and happy?
A: All the angels did not remain good and happy; many of them sinned and were cast into Hell; and these are called devils or bad angels.
Angels are certainly well-depicted in pop culture. As most imagery goes, angels are large, winged, human-like creatures said to come down from the heavens. They can be visible or invisible, and are most often (but not always) benevolent. Pop culture’s angels are the celestial counterpart to fairies, who are smaller, winged, human-like creatures said to rise from the earth and can likewise be seen, unseen, kindly or malicious.
The Baltimore Catechism speaks of none of these attributes, instead stating that God created the angels for His delight in Heaven. Implied in questions 32-38 are several points of note:
Let us look now systematically at the attributes which the Catechism names regarding angels.
This entire topic seems by itself an interesting study in God’s creatures. However, it sets the stage for understanding what the Catholic church teaches about the roots of good and evil in the tangible world we live in. Though the existence of angels and devils remains unseen and cannot readily be proven using the scientific method, accepting their existence does provide a logical foundation for much of what is to come. For many, it is a stretch. For all, it is why we call it “faith.”
May the power of Divine Love shine in and through my weakness, so that He might be glorified in and through me, and that in my weakness, His power may reach perfection. Through Christ Our Lord, AMEN.
Fr. Mark P. Nolette - Spiritual Director for the Mission of Saint Thorlak