Angelic Enlightenment (part 1)

February 9, 2023

This month's Opus Angelorum (OA) formation letter explains how our guardian angel can influence and enlighten our imagination, memory, intellect and will. 

This is something that the OA, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius of Loyola all agree upon. And they also agree that fallen angels can influence us, as well.

In this post we'll talk about the ways that our guardian angel and the enemy can affect our imagination and memory. We'll also touch on how we can be more open to the influence of the good angel and steer clear of the bad.

Angelic Protection 

Because of my past history in the New Age and occult, I believe I'm a little more vulnerable to preternatural manipulation than the next person. This is one of the reasons why I've made my relationship with my guardian angel a priority and chose to participate in spiritual formation with the OA.

I need all the help I can get!

And our guardian angel can help. He can help protect our interior faculties of imagination and memory which are a primary target for the demonic. For somebody like me, this is enormously helpful. But the truth is that in our society we are ALL subject to the enemy's influence.

Spiritual influence (whether preternatural or supernatural) doesn't happen in a vacuum, of course, which is why the Opus Angelorum assumes that a candidate will fulfill some minimal requirements. These include attending Mass weekly (at minimum) and engaging in some form of morning and evening prayer. 

I think this is good advice for anyone but lately I've struggled with the prayer part, and this has had a very real effect on my guardian angel's ability to provide the protection I have come to rely on.

Angels and the Imagination

According to Pope Paul the II, Satan loves to tempt us through our imaginations. Sometimes the things we imagine are unpleasant, as in imagining the worst. At other times, we may get caught up in fantasy that are enjoyable on the surface but have negative consequences. We may then be tempted through distraction, inattentiveness, anxiety, resentment, or disordered desires, like greed or lust.

When this process begins to unfold our guardian angel will attempt to work through our conscience to counteract the enemy's influence. Many of us have had the experience of receiving a sudden insight or reality check when we are veering off course. This may be our guardian angel at work.

In addition to the above, this month's OA formation letter, taught me that the imagination can serve as a doorway to our emotions which (unlike our ability to reason) are states that the enemy can influence with ease.

To me, this made a lot of sense. We've all seen how reason takes a backseat to emotion when passions are running high. What we may not realize, however, is how vulnerable we are to preternatural manipulation when we're in an emotional state. Emotions like anger, anxiety or hopelessness are two very common examples of this. 

It's good to remember that our guardian angel can affect our imagination directly, too. According to St. Ignatius of Loyal, our guardian angel can inspire us, give us courage, a sense of ease, remove obstacles and move us to tears. If we avoid sin and try to take control of our imagination, we make his job that much easier.

The OA consecration makes it easier for our guardian angel to protect us. It also allows him to exercise more influence over our imaginations. But we can also directly invite him to help us with this.

Angels and Memory

For the rest, brethren whatever thing are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if ere be any virtue, if anything worth of praise, think upon these things. - Phillians 4:9 Challoner-Rheims Confraternity Edition

This month's OA letter reminded me that our exterior senses are the windows to our soul and that many of the thoughts and images in our imaginations enter our awareness through our eyes and ears. The world we live in is full of things that do not meet the conditions St. Paul cites above. We cannot keep them all out, but it makes our life much easier if we try.

It's good to keep in mind that good memories will always uplift us. And that bad ones will have the opposite effect. 

Unconfessed sin, dwelling on the past, and worldly or suggestive media, images or books can create memories that will eventually trip us up. But this month's letter also points out that simply having too many memories crowded into our minds can be problematic as well.

This is why the OA recommends periods of silence, prayer and reflection in order to clear our minds and be "more open for the voice of the angel." These are activities that allow us to disconnect and withdraw from others. As Thomas à Kempis says, "He who withdraws himself from the company of men and the business of the world, God will draw near to him with His holy angels."

Our culture encourages productivity and constant busyness but there are times when we need to take a step back. 

This month's formation letter encourages us to commit our memory to our guardian angels. We can ask him to help us discern what activities might create problems for us. We can also ask him to help "guard what enters the door of memory." 

The letter closes the section on memory with the following:

By showing our good will in such things and making our own small effort, the angel will come to meet us with his light and strength.

I love the idea of that!

In My Next Post

I'd hoped to share everything I learned in this month's spiritual formation letter in a single blog post, but it's proven to be too much information! So, I'll be talking about how our guardian angel can enlighten our intellect and strengthen our will in my next post.

I'm currently on my fourth month of spiritual formation with the OA. So, I'd like to go back and share highlights from previous letters, too. Since each lesson builds on the one before, I think this would be helpful for you. I am NOT being completely altruistic however because, for me, writing about what I'm learning helps me understand and prepares me to answer the questions at the end of each section.
in this post:

  1. What is the importance of the imagination? How does your angel influence you through this faculty?
  2. How does your angel protect your memory?

If I did my job here, you should have some idea about the answers to these questions - but please keep in mind that there is LOT of information in the formation letters and that I can't cover it all. 

If you're really interested in developing a better relationship with your guardian angel, please consider discerning if spiritual formation with the Opus Angelorum might be for you!

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